Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday said the question of a post-poll tie-up with other parties will not arise at all as the JD(S) is confident of winning a majority of seats for forming the next government on its own in the State.
“I am telling this with confidence only after coming across the response travelling through 75 constituencies in 75 days during the Pancharatna Yatra. The people will reply to the Congress and the BJP who are belittling the JD(S) and its electoral projections,” he told reporters.
Participating in the ‘meet-the-press’ organised by the Mysuru District Journalists’ Association (MDJA) here, Mr. Kumaraswamy lashed out at former CM Siddaramaiah for his repeated statements on the JD(S) poll prospects and the number of seats it will win besides accusing the JD(S) as the ‘B’ team of the BJP. A Minister in the BJP government says JD(S) has to go to Telangana to win in an election. The people of the State will disprove them soon with their verdict, he stated.
When reporters insisted for his reply on his move in the event of a hung Assembly, Mr. Kumaraswamy evaded a direct reply but said the situation does not arise at all as things are different now and “we are expecting to win 120 seats”.
“I was humiliated by the State Congress leaders during the coalition rule. They did not give me a free hand. I have run the government tying up the BJP as well. The BJP of those days was different from the present-day BJP. The BJP now in the State is of “Modi, Shah and Nadda” which doesn’t respect leaders like B.S. Yeddyurappa who was unceremoniously removed from power,” he said.
He took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for remembering S. Nijalingappa and Veerendra Patil in his speech when the veteran leaders in his own party like L.K. Advani have been forgotten.
‘A political trap’
Asked whether he regrets joining hands with the Congress, he replied in the positive and said it even harmed the party which was evident in the Mandya bypoll and Tumakuru Lok Sabha poll. “It was kind of a political trap but I am satisfied that I could waive ₹ 25,000 crore farm loans. The coalition beneficiary was the Congress and not the JD(S) as claimed by the Congress leaders,” he argued.
Mr. Kumaraswamy ridiculed the Congress’ ‘guarantee card’ campaign and said ₹48,000 crore would be required to realise the assurance of 10 kg of free rice. “Where is the money? In the coalition government, we had money for 5 kg of rice but I had to mobilise resources for ensuring 7 kg of free rice. The assurances are only in speeches.”
‘Second list soon
The former CM said the second list of JD(S) candidates will be released soon. Barring some 60-70 seats, the candidates for the rest of the constituencies will be known. “Some leaders want to join our party and a decision on the remaining seats will be taken accordingly,” he replied.
Acid test for all parties
Mr. Kumaraswamy opined that the ensuing polls are not just an acid test for the JD(S) but also for the BJP and the Congress. The poll outcome will be crucial for all and will decide the political course.
Pancharatna Yatra in Mysuru
He said the Pancharatna Yatra in Mysuru district is likely to be held in the third week of March and over 10 lakh people are expected to congregate in Mysuru on March 27 after the yatra completes the district tour. Under the leadership of G.T. Deve Gowda and S.R. Mahesh, the party is expected to win seven seats in the district, he hoped.
MDJA President S.T. Ravi Kumar, General Secretary Subramanya and other office-bearers were present. Party leaders including Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda and Mr. S.R. Mahesh accompanied Mr. Kumaraswamy, who later held a meeting with the prominent leaders in view of his yatra.