Won’t form Govt with BJP under any circumstances: Deve Gowda

Bengaluru (Karnataka): The Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Monday said that his party would not form a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under any circumstances.

In an exclusive interview to ANI, former Prime Minister and currently billed as kingmaker in the possibility of a hung assembly, said that Karnataka has suffered immensely in the past during BJP rule, so he would do nothing to help bringing back the party to power. He says the same about the Congress party too.

“I will not form a coalition with the BJP under any circumstances. The state has suffered so badly by the BJP rule. In five years, there were three chief ministers. That is BJP’s contribution. I don’t want to name the leaders who have gone to jail during BJP rule in Karnataka,” the JD (S) supremo told Smita Prakash, Editor, ANI, in an exclusive interview.

Holding court at his residence surrounded by scores of idols of various gods and goddesses, the former Prime Minister holds the principle of secularism close to his heart. He says he will not hold truck with any party that practices discrimination.

Convinced that only his son Kumaraswamy can give the better alternative to Congress party’s Siddaramaiah or BJP’s Yeddyurappa, the octogenarian, who still commands a great deal of respect among his colleagues, says it is for the people to decide who they feel can give the best administration. The track record is there for all to see, he says.

He, however, castigated Congress-led Karnataka government and held Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for the erosion of various government institutions.

“What happened to Lokayukta? Is it dead or alive? The Lokayukta was formed during (Ramakrishna) Hegde’s period when I was a Cabinet minister. I appealed before Lokayukta that was the power which was vested in the Lokayukta. We brought the Bill. Now, what is there? Now, all the powers have been taken over by the great chief minister and there is an anti-corruption bureau, which is headed by the chief minister,” Deve Gowda said.

Ramakrishna Hegde had introduced the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta Bill in the Karnataka assembly as their 1983 election promise. It came into force through the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984.

“What happened to the Karnataka Public Service Commission? What happened to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA)? What is going on in the Corporation?” the JD(S) supremo rhetorically questioned.

He, however, immediately took the blame of supporting the Congress in the Corporation.

“I have also to take the blame as I supported Congress (in the corporation). Just only to protect my secular credentials, I agreed (to support Congress). The BJP was at my doors but I said no to it. But, hereafter supporting (Congress), what is our position?” he questioned.

He also talked about why he joined hands with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) chief Mayawati.

“Mayawaiti has contested twice in Karnataka. In some constituencies, she was able to get some sizeable votes. In 2013, my son was the lone star campaigner. BJP stalwarts like Narendra Modi, Lal Krishna Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj also campaigned. The BJP won 40 seats and my son also won seats, and Yeddyurappa’s regional party (KJP) got some votes,” Deve Gowda said.

When asked did he go with Mayawati because all of a sudden Dalit politics has come to fore, Deve Gowda said, “No. Last time 48 seats were lost by a margin of 5000-2000 votes. That (pact with Mayawati) will help me. It will help Mayawati in four-five constituencies.”

· Secularism

Replying a question about the importance of secularism for him, Dewe Gowda said, “I suffered a lot. From day one, I stood for that (Secularism), not because of any emotional politics. The people were suffering so badly. I am not going to say anything against any political party.”

He justified his decision to give reservation to Muslims by giving an example of the police department.

“When I became the chief minister, I called DG Ramalingam and asked how many Muslim constables are there in the police department. His report informed me ‘00.1%’,” Deve Gowda said.

“I don’t want to talk about fundamentalism. It is humanity which made me to give reservation. The top leaders are shouting about this, but I never shouted. I also gave political reservation which made Muslim ladies to become mayor twice in Bangalore city. There are 12 Muslim corporators,” the JD (S) Supremo said.

When asked despite this the Muslims have not voted only for the JD (S), Dewe Gowda said, “There was some mistake committed by my son, but he has never tried to harm any minority. The BJP president was arrested by Kumaraswamy government, though BJP was a coalition partner. He wanted to cross the limits of the orders of the court. In a murder of a Muslim boy, Kumaraswamy gave instructions and 19 people were arrested.”

· Dynasty politics

The JD(S) supremo refused to buy allegation that his party is only a ‘father-son’ party.

“There are four former ministers who belong to the backward class, and five-time ministers are all in the field. If media doesn’t want to take this into consideration but only harps about only father and son then I can only laugh at it,” he said.

When asked if he doesn’t see dynasty politics as a negative aspect, he said, “I am not going to see that. If Yeddyurappa’s son is going to contest, if Siddaramaiah’s son is going to contest; why should I bother? They are going to be tested by the people. If they get the mandate, they will go (to the assembly) and if they don’t get the mandate, they won’t go. Similarly, if my both sons will go through people’s mandate then who am I or anybody to object,” Deve Gowda said.

The assembly election will be held in Karnataka on 12 May 2018 in all 224 constituencies of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The counting of votes and announcement of result will take place on 15 May 2018. (ANI)