HD Deve Gowda says defeat is 'staring Siddaramaiah in the face' in Karnataka Assembly election

Bengaluru: In a scathing attack on the Siddaramaiah government, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda on Friday described it as the "most corrupt" administration the state has ever seen.

People would teach a lesson to the chief minister whose intention was to "finish off" JDS, he said.

The JDS supremo claimed that Siddaramaiah was "staring" at defeat in his own constituency of Chamundeshwari in Mysuru in the 12 May assembly polls.

Gowda, in an interview to PTI, dismissed speculation that the polls might throw up a hung assembly.

He maintained that JDS' alliance with Mayawati's BSP and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had only brightened the JDS' electoral prospects.

"If Siddaramaiah has to contest from a particular constituency, he has to nurture it. He did not. He just began paying visits to Chamundeshwari for the last three months. This will not work. Defeat is staring at Siddaramaiah's face," Gowda said.

JDS leader HR Deve Gowda. AFP

JDS leader HR Deve Gowda. AFP

Gowda said people vote for leaders who keep society together and do not divide as Siddaramaiah had done by proposing a separate religious minority tag for Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats.

He claimed Siddaramaiah's attempts to contest from two constituencies had created a negative perception about him.

"Siddaramaiah's attempts to contest also from Badami constituency, have created a public perception that the Chief Minister is not confident of winning Chamundeshwari seat...Our candidate, G T Deve Gowda, is a formidable candidate. He will defeat him," he said.

The Congress has announced that Siddaramaiah would contest from Chamundeshwari, amid reports that he is still keeping the option open to contest from Badami in north Karnataka, which is perceived to be a safer seat.

Reports suggest Siddaramaiah would face a tough battle in Chamundeshwari, with JDS going all out to scuttle his chances.

"People also will teach a lesson to Siddaramaiah, whose intention is to finish off JDS, which nurtured him in his political career earlier," said Gowda for whom the chief minister, formerly a JDS leader, has become a bitter rival.

To a query on Siddaramaiah's five-year rule, Gowda said "it is the most corrupt government the state had."

"I do not want to list the number of corruption charges against his government. There are many. People know," he said.

To a query, Gowda said he was not expecting a hung assembly.

"There are certain things which have brightened the prospects of JDS, like our association with Mayawati's BSP, KCR's party and Assaduddin Owaisi. We are working hard, and there is no question of a hung assembly," he said.

People would vote for JDS as they have seen the "misrule" of Congress and BJP in the last ten years, Gowda said. He said people were wise enough to vote for clean candidates, unlike some candidates fielded by the BJP and Congress who were facing graft charges.

"The end result will be different. People understand the misrule of Congress and BJP for the last ten years. Just look at the candidates they have fielded... People are wise. Will they vote for such candidates?" he said.

Asked if the Lingayat controversy would benefit the Congress, Gowda said it is a wrong calculation because the community is very "well-inclined" in politics and would not like to lose its political clout.

"However, it is very difficult to assess whom Lingayats would vote for."

On allegations he is soft on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gowda said he would not attack him needlessly. "I do not want attack anybody needlessly..whatever may be Modi and Amit Shah's strategy to win elections," he said. Gowda said he would not criticise the prime minister, unless he traded charges against him.

"Why should I scratch my head and pounce on them," he said.

On Rahul Gandhi's dubbing JDS as "Team B" of BJP, Gowda said he was not going to use harsh words against him because "he is still young".

"Some people try to mislead him .... he should not get tempted over such things...he is still young. I am not going to use any harsh words against him," he added.

To another question, Gowda said he was least bothered about Congress and BJP perceiving JDS as an irrelevant party. "Let them have the impression that my party is an irrelevant party in this election. Let them have it till May 15 (counting of votes). I am least bothered," he said.

Gowda said he is ready to give tickets to disgruntled leaders belonging to Congress or BJP, who have been ignored by their parties, after considering their chances of winning.


Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 17:02 PM

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