It is for Congress to introspect

Published : Jun 20, 2008 00:00 IST

H. D. Deve Gowda: It is for the single largest opposition party to seek our support if it is serious about halting the BJPs growth in Karnataka.-V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

H. D. Deve Gowda: It is for the single largest opposition party to seek our support if it is serious about halting the BJPs growth in Karnataka.-V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

THE results of the Assembly elections do not seem to have really upset the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka. Former Prime Minister and national president of the JD (S) H.D. Deve Gowda is of the view that the onus is on the Congress to consolidate the secular platform given the nature of the divided verdict of the people.

In a freewheeling interview, the former Prime Minister said: We have accepted the verdict of the people and decided to sit in the Opposition. It is for the single largest opposition party (the Congress) to seek our support if it is really serious about halting the growth of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka.

Deve Gowda said: We are not really demoralised or upset with the results. We are now working at the next course of action that would enthuse the party workers and supporters. The next step is to galvanise the party for the elections to the Lok Sabha. A two-day meet, to be held in Bangalore on June 14 and 15, will discuss the partys performance. Nearly 2,000 elected representatives of the JD(S), from the panchayat level to the two Houses of the legislature, have been invited.

Deve Gowda said: It is for the Congress leadership to introspect about the mandate of the Karnataka voters. It is a long story of all that has happened in the State since 2004 when the first coalition government was formed. I do not want to blame any given leader. Let them do it before blaming the JD(S) for the division in the secular votes. In a way, the JD(S) enjoys more or less the same status it had in 2004. The partys vote share has dropped by 1.6 per cent from 21 per cent in 2004 to 19.4 per cent in 2008.

In a direct attack on former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, the former Prime Minister said: It is his game going on in Karnataka since 2004 which needs to be checked. The JD(S) had never said that the Congress and the JD(S) should have an equal term in heading the first coalition government. If those in the Congress had not worked at dividing the JD(S) then the Dharam Singh government would have completed its full term of 60 months. From day one, a section of Congress leaders worked at dividing the JD(S). They succeeded first in taking away nine legislators, and followed it up three months ago by drawing out another 28 legislators. Is it aimed at consolidating the secular vote or at decimating another secular party. These are the factors that have resulted in the voters putting down the Congress in the elections.

Asked whether the JD(S) had indirectly enabled the BJP to emerge victorious after pulling out of the alliance in November last, Deve Gowda said: Why blame the JD(S). We did our best to keep the BJP out and yet the Congress did not respond when the JD(S) pulled out of its alliance with the BJP. On the contrary, they continued with the attempts to wipe out the JD(S) from the political map even during the run-up to the Assembly elections. It is therefore for the Congress leadership to first introspect.

On the charge that the JD(S) is perceived as a party of betrayers, Deve Gowda said: I and the JD(S) are being portrayed as betrayers. Time will tell who the betrayers are. I am proud to say that I was initially instrumental in closing the gate for the BJPs entry into South India. In a way, the Congress has now reopened the gates. The Congress high command should look into all these factors rather than indulge in a blame game.

Deve Gowda said that he would continue to lead the JD(S) campaign against the BJP. He added: I have been accused of pulling down several governments and leaders. Let them say anything but I will fight to the finish against the BJP. It is for the other secular parties to extend support.

S. Rajendran
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