- No plans to retire, but not necessary to become PM: HD Deve Gowda
- My concern is (PM Narendra) Modi will come to Parliament, he claimed
- He is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Karnataka's Tumkur seat
Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, who is contesting the national election after declaring he wouldn't, says he has no plans to retire, but doesn't need to be prime minister either. "I will sit by Rahul Gandhi's side if he becomes Prime Minister," he said on Thursday.
Deve Gowda, 85, is contesting as the Janata Dal Secular candidate from Karnataka's Tumkur parliamentary constituency, where his BJP rival is GS Basavaraj.
"I announced three years back that I will not contest elections. There are circumstances now in which I have been forced to contest. There is nothing to hide. I have no ambition of anything but what I always said is that I am not going to retire from active politics," the JDS chief told news agency ANI.
On his son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy saying he could be Prime Minister again as a consensus candidate, he said: "I am not bothered about this. My concern is (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi will come to Parliament. I have got the guts and conviction to tell it to the face of the PM. I have the courage. If Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister, I will sit by his side. It is not necessary to become the Prime Minister."
The JDS teamed up with the Congress to form a government in Karnataka after a hung verdict in state polls last year.
"Madam Sonia Gandhi has taken the decision to support Deve Gowda even though we are a small party. Now it is my responsibility to move forward with Congress, though I do agree in some states there is no question of any coalition. But in Tamil Nadu, there is a coalition between Congress and DMK and with Sharad Pawar's party in Maharashtra," Deve Gowda said.
To a reference on BJP veteran LK Advani, who has not been fielded by his party in his long-term constituency Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Deve Gowda said he had no plans to "retire like Advani" and wanted to " save my party first and the office building last."
He has been accused of "saving the family" rather than the party. "Several leaders who worked with me collectively, have left. Some people are in Congress, some in BJP. I was able to keep the party intact but suffered. I have not allowed my family members to become president of the party."