Karnataka Assembly elections 2018: What people want, Deve Gowda explains
Deve Gowda: The maladministration of the present government, too, is an issue. The election machinery will not be allowed to carry out free and fair elections. In the last three months, the CM has transferred election officers, district return officers, even though some of them were in office for only a few months
In the midst of a triangular fight with the BJP and the Congress in the Karnataka State Assembly elections, former PM and leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) Deve Gowda said that while the fight is not easy, the masses want to see his son, HD Kumaraswamy at the helm. Edited excerpts:
A tough fight is playing out this year between the JD(S), BJP and Congress. What are the challenges?
JD(S) is a regional party; resources is an issue as both the national parties have tons of it. The maladministration of the present government, too, is an issue. The election machinery will not be allowed to carry out free and fair elections. In the last three months, the CM has transferred election officers, district return officers, even though some of them were in office for only a few months.
The BJP, on the other hand, changed three CMs in five years. They made my son suffer when he came to power with the BJP, accused him of making over Rs 150 crore in mining mafia. Kumaraswamy is the star campaigner of JD(S). If you ask a daily-wager, a tonga-wallah, rickshaw-wallah, they will say that they are voting for Kumar Anna. Money, I doubt, will play a role. People want their Kumar Anna back.
People are saying that the JD(S) will help the BJP when the need arises. What do you have to say to that?
We are fighting with two national parties. Both parties have caused major damages to Karnataka in the last 20 years when they were in Centre. In the state, Siddaramaiah damaged the Public Service Commission, the Bangalore Development Authority, and allowed the mining and land mafia to grow. This time there’s no mercy for the BJP or Congress.
You have said that you will not contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Why?
I may not contest, but I need to help my party present a secular team, whether it is a third front or people’s front.
The BJP hasn’t brought in Modi as of yet. Do you think his entry will change the elections?
It is not so easy here. BJP’s government in Karnataka was the first in South India. Some people are still committed to the BJP; we need to work hard to eliminate them. Congress is a mass organisation, JD(S) is, too, not a cadre-based organisation.
Do you think CM Siddaramaiah’s move to name Lingayats as a separate religion was a brainwave?
It is going to kick back, it will not help him. It may even bring the entire Lingayat community together against the Congress.
(By Amrita Madhukalya, DNA)