Bengaluru: The anger in him that usually manifests when things don't go his way is missing. Instead, it is hurt, a sense of betrayal by his own people and his political strategies going awry which has made the 86-year-old former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda keep a low profile. On a day when a move to scrap Article 370 was being debated in the Parliament, the expected reaction from Gowda was to network with those who matter in New Delhi on how the NDA's proposal could be stalled.
But Gowda remained detached. Sitting in his room switching between news channels on television, newspapers strewn around him and his trusty leather pouch containing a dozen tablets next to him, Gowda, in an interview, delved into national politics and the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka. "I have not spoken to anybody in New Delhi. I am watching the panel discussions that are taking place on the abrogation of the Article; some of the debates are in Hindi which I am not able to follow. The Opposition is divided, recently the RTI Act was diluted; this also will be passed," he said.
Edited excerpts follow:
You had conversations over tea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first term; is there any change in the style of functioning of Modi 2.0?
Today, with an absolute majority, Modi is moving at a rapid pace to implement the Jan Sangh and RSS agenda. The BJP was assuring people of repealing Article 370, it has been done. The NDA government is using all constitutionally-created institutions to suppress the voice of the people.
After the fall of the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka, there is talk in both camps of parting ways. As the JD(S) patriach, what is your view?
The Congress has gradually realised its mistakes that resulted in the collapse of the coalition government. Now, everything depends on the Congress high command and what decision it takes on 10 August 10 (the AICC is expected to announce its new president). If the Congress wants to move forward and cut ties with the JD(S), it should first discuss with its party leaders Mallikarjun M Kharge, G Parameshwara, DK Shivakumar, Krishna Byregowda, HK Patil and KR Ramesh Kumar. My strength is curtailed now. At the age of 86 years, I have been rejected by the people of Tumakuru who did not want me to go to Parliament. What can I do now?
The JD(S)-Congress coalition government was billed as the model for the country with leaders of non-BJP outfits attending the swearing-in ceremony for your son, HD Kumaraswamy. Whom do you hold responsible for the downfall?
In my humble opinion, it was present chief minister BS Yediyurappa. His main target was not the Congress, but my son and me. He personally took up cudgels against both of us. I will not say he was avenging the 2007 issue (when Kumaraswamy declined to transfer power to Yediyurappa under the 20:20 agreement) as the matter was different then.
From being a pillar of strength 14 months ago, you seem to be giving up now?
I want to forget those 14 months. My son's suffering began on the very first day. I did not want to contest the Lok Sabha polls, but several people forced me to go ahead. But this defeat has enthused me to move forward.
After admitting in public that you had been punished by the people for trying to push three members into the Lok Sabha, now there are reports of Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil being fielded in the by-elections that are expected in Karnataka?
Nikhil Kumaraswamy will not contest any bypoll. He will be the candidate from Ramanagaram Assembly constituency in the 2023 Assembly polls as his mother Anitha Kumaraswamy, who is representing the constituency now has declined to recontest. From the Gowda family, it will be only Kumaraswamy, Nikhil, HD Revanna (another son) and JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna who will be in politics.
Depression seems to have gripped the JD(S) as Kumaraswamy and former minister GT Devegowda want to retire from politics?
My son Kumaraswamy will not quit politics. He is a person who will fight his battles. A lack of cooperation from various quarters has made him say that. Regarding Devegowda, I don't want to react immediately as he is an old friend of mine. The people I once trusted are now distanced is all I can say politely.
Updated Date: Aug 06, 2019 09:26:32 IST