Gowda, HDK skip key Opposition meet

H D Deve Gowda

In a development that has raised eyebrows in political circles, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and his son, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy skipped a key meeting of Opposition parties to discuss issues surrounding EVM-VVPAT in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The father-son duo had booked their flight for the visit, but they cancelled last minute.

Sources said by cancelling the visit the JD(S) leaders had sent out a “strong message” to its coalition partner Congress, especially in the backdrop of their strained relationship.

This could also be read as the party’s posturing - that it is keeping its options open if Kumaraswamy is made the scapegoat for the defeat of the Congress-JD(S) coalition.

A section of JD(S) leaders is learnt to have advised Kumaraswamy to explore the possibility of joining hands with the BJP, but this view has been met with stiff resistance. 

Sensing the looming danger, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal rushed to Bengaluru and held talks with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and state party president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

All of them later visited Kumaraswamy and reiterated their assurance that the coalition will remain safe. 

Sources also pointed out that the JD(S) leadership wants to mount pressure on the Congress so as to keep the coalition government safe regardless of the Lok Sabha election outcome. It is widely believed that the Lok Sabha election results would have a bearing on the survival of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been anchoring efforts to stitch up an anti-BJP front met Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy at his Padmanabhanagar residence on Tuesday night.

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