BJP Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa took a swipe at former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Friday a day after the Janata Dal (Secular) chief said he was ready to sit by "Rahul Gandhi's side if he becomes Prime Minister".
Mr Yedyurappa, reacting to the JDS partiarch's remarks, commented that the 85-year-old leader was aiming to become the prime minister or an advisor to the prime minister even when his party, JDS, was contesting in just seven parliamentary constituencies in Karnataka. Deve Gowda's son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had earlier said Deve Gowda, who was the Prime Minister of the country for less than a year between June 1, 1996, to April 21, 1997, could become prime minister again as a consensus candidate.
"Deve Gowda is fighting on seven seats in Karnataka and has ambitions of becoming the Prime Minister or an advisor to the Prime Minister," Mr Yeddyurappa said in an interview to news agency ANI, taking a dig at the JDS chief, who is contesting from Karnataka's Tumkur parliamentary constituency.
The Congress and JDS, which teamed up to form a government in Karnataka last year after a hung verdict in assembly elections, have again cobbled up an alliance to fight in 28 parliamentary constituencies in the state in the national elections, which began April 11. While Congress is contesting on 21 seats, JDS is contesting on seven seats.
Deve Gowda on Thursday said he has no plans to retire from active politics and has been "forced to contest elections" under the current circumstances. He also said he had no "ambition of anything".
He also referred to his comments he made three years back when he had declared that he won't contest elections. "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 ANI.
The JDS patriarch further said he was "concerned (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," Deve Gowda said.
His son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday also said his father was a better prime minister than PM Modi . "When my father was the Prime Minister, was there any terrorist activity in this country? The entire country was calm at that time," he told ANI.
Karnataka is witnessing a two-cornered contest between the Congress-JDS alliance and the BJP. Fourteen constituencies in the state voted in the second phase of national elections on April 18 and the remaining constituencies will vote in the third phase on April 23. The votes will be counted on May 23.
(With inputs from ANI)