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Kumaraswamy Bins Modi’s Deve Gowda Outreach, Says JD(S) Will Not Align With BJP

In 2014, Prime Minister Modi faced criticism for offering to send the JD(S) chief to an old age home

Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered praises on Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Tuesday while campaigning in Udupi. The Prime Minister’s statements were widely seen as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) attempt to woo the JD(S) into forming an alliance with them. But with Deve Gowda having already ruled out an alliance with the saffron party and his son Kumaraswamy now stating that he is in no mood to align with BJP either, all that praise is proving futile for the Prime Minister.

With some opinion polls predicting a hung assembly in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, it will be interesting to note which national party the JD(S) decides to support. Their main voter base is Vokaliggas who make up 11 per cent of the Karnataka voters, The Telegraph reported.

While some JD(S) leaders openly welcomed the prime minister’s comments, the regional party’s leadership seem to clearly maintain a distance from the BJP ahead of the Karnataka elections.

Here are the top developments related to the BJP-JDS deal which has not taken any shape so far:

1. Kumaraswamy reacts to Modi’s statements: “The reason Prime Minister Modi praised my father was simply because, having been in the same seat now, he realises what my father went through and what all he did for the country, always putting the country’s interests first and never giving into partisan politics while he occupied the Prime Minister’s chair,” JD (S) chief ministerial aspirant Kumaraswamy told The Hindu on Wednesday. “All this does not have anything to do with any electoral alliance or anything. We are going to form the government on our own, without either the Congress or the BJP,” he added.

2. Deve Gowda downplays BJP’s hints to form an alliance: “Maybe, by praising me, he (Narendra Modi) wants to gain sympathy. That is all. That does not mean there is an understanding (between BJP and JDS),” PTI quoted Gowda a saying. The Vokkaliga leader asserted that JD(S) would come to power on its own, and discounted the possibility of a hung assembly.

3. JD(S) leaders welcome PM’s remark: A section of the JD(S) couldn’t hide their excitement as the rival party praised their leader. Speaking to India Today, JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu said, “Deve Gowda is a veteran who has 55 years of political experience. It’s a custom in Indian politics to respect senior members of parliament. Deve Gowda has stood as an ideal member of parliament to others.”

4. Modi attacks Rahul Gandhi while praising Deve Gowda: “I heard that the Congress president criticised the respected Deve Gowdaji at an election rally 15-20 days ago. Is that your culture?” Modi said in the Udupi rally. “Such arrogance. You (Rahul Gandhi) are starting your political life and Deve Gowdaji is one of the greatest leaders of our country,” the prime minister added, attacking the Congress party chief.

Modi continued to underline that he shares a warm relationship with the JD(S) chief. “I meet our former prime minister, Deve Gowdaji, whenever he comes to Delhi and seeks my time. That’s not all. When he visits my home, I always go to his car to open the door to welcome him. And when he leaves, I go to the car to see him off,” Modi said.

Calling Deve Gowda one of the “greatest leaders, Modi said, “Politically he is our opponent, he criticises me and votes against us in Parliament. But Deve Gowdaji is among the greatest leaders and I have no right to forget that.”

5. How Modi changed his stance on Deve Gowda to warm up to JD (S): In 2014, the BJP leader did not have many good things to say about the former prime minister when he was campaigning in Karnataka for the Lok Sabha polls. In fact, his remarks on Deve Gowda met with criticism from many sections. 

In 2014, Modi offered to put Deve Gowda in an old-age home. “If you want to stay in an old-age home, if you want a home, or stay in a farm house with me, I will serve you more than your son,” Modi had said. He made the remark after Deve Gowda said that he would take political sanyas and quit Karnataka if the BJP won the Lok Sabha elections.

6. Siddaramiah reminds Modi of his “old age home remark”: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaraiah reminded the prime minister that he had insulted Deve Gowda previously while underlining that the “new love” for the JD(S) chief might be a hint of the understanding between both the parties. “PM has suddenly discovered love & respect for Shri HD Deve Gowda. Shri Modi had not long ago said he will send Shri Deve Gowda to a retirement home. Is this new love a sign of the not so secret understanding between BJP & JDS?” Siddaramiah tweeted.

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