Question of Cong alliance doesn’t exist, says Gowda

JD (S) Supremo H D Deve Gowda

JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda on Saturday dropped enough hints that the alliance with the Congress was a thing of the past even as the regional party is aggressively preparing for the next election, whenever it happens. 

“That question doesn’t exist anymore,” Gowda told reporters who asked him if the alliance with the Congress will continue. “Why are we sitting here preparing for 28 Assembly and 3 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengaluru,” he asked in return, pointing to the meeting he was holding at the party’s JP Bhavan headquarters. 

“Let’s see going forward,” Gowda said on the alliance. Earlier this week, the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy collapsed. The Congress has since maintained silence on the future of the alliance. 

Gowda said the JD(S) will play the role of a “constructive opposition party” and played down talk of a section of JD(S) MLAs looking to support the BJP. “We are going to play a constructive role as a regional party. We’ll oppose where we have to,” said Gowda.

The JD(S) is going through a rough patch. The party won just 37 seats in the Assembly polls last year and received a drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, with Gowda himself suffering a humiliating defeat. Gowda has since focused on strengthening the party; he even predicted midterm polls in 2020. “I know of the hurt my son has suffered and the tears he shed for 15 minutes in front of JP Bhavan from the day he became CM,” Gowda said. “The government is gone...no problem. I will ensure this party survives. No one can erase the JD(S).”

Both JD(S) and Congress MLAs, Gowda said, are pained that the coalition government lasted just 14 months. “But now, there’s nothing coming in the way of Yediyurappa to form government. We are 99 of which JD(S) is 34. What happens to the rebel MLAs is between the Speaker and the Supreme Court,” he said, welcoming the idea of Yediyurappa being the CM for the next four years.

To be future-ready, Gowda has convened a meeting of over 150 defeated Assembly and Lok Sabha election candidates next week. 

On August 7, Gowda said the JD(S) will host a mega convention in Bengaluru. “Those who want this party to be alive, those who haven’t enjoyed any power will come. These are the people who want to keep this party alive across 30 districts. These are the people who gave Kumaraswamy 20% votes,” he said.

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