The Congress party and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah received support from an unexpected quarter on Tuesday morning, when Janata Dal (Secular) chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda asked the Election Commission whether the overnight Income Tax Department raids on some Congress leaders in Karnataka were “politically motivated”.
Now TV channel TV9 Kannada has reported that Deve Gowda has stated in a press conference held at Mysuru on Tuesday, that JD(S) is likely to lose in Varuna and Krishnaraja constituencies in Mysuru, “if one has to speak realistically”. A TV9 reporter who had attended the press conference stated that Gowda also said that JD(S) would win the other 9 out of 11 seats in Mysuru district.
But the significance of Deve Gowda picking out the two constituencies of Varuna and Krishnaraja would not be lost on either his son, party cadre or voters. Mysuru is the home ground of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah; his son Yathindra is the Congress candidate fro Varuna. The political fight in the Old Mysuru region is dominated by Congress and JD(S), with the BJP placed third. A statement like this from Deve Gowda would certainly be taken as a signal by voters to shift their votes to Congress in these two seats.
Deve Gowda’s statements also come a day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi on May 7 asked JD(S) to decide whether it is Janata Dal ‘Secular’ or Janata Dal ‘Parivar’, clarify its ideology, towards which side of the political spectrum it leans, and make it clear which side it’s on.
Gandhi’s comments came amid reports that the JD(S) was considering going with either the BJP or Congress to form the government in case the Karnataka assembly election threw up a hung assembly. Kumaraswamy had on Monday, while releasing his party’s manifesto for the assembly election, said that the JD(S) was ready to join hands with any party who will implement his party's manifesto.
Deve Gowda, reportedly under pressure from BSP chief Mayawati, with whom JD(S) has an alliance for the Karnataka election, has repeatedly tried to distance his party from the BJP. Mayawati is reportedly unhappy at rumours that the JD(S) could deal a blow to the secular opposition by joining hands with the BJP in a post-poll scenario.
But today’s comments by Deve Gowda go a step further, from distancing JD(S) from BJP, to bringing his party closer to Congress.