"We'll Contest, But On Our Own": Deve Gowda On Karnataka By-Elections

A recent phone call from Deve Gowda to BS Yediyurappa had given rise to speculation that he was cozying up the BJP. However, both leaders claim that there was "nothing political" about their conversation.

Deve Gowda has termed both the Congress and the BJP as "untrustworthy".

Bengaluru:

Janata Dal Secular chief Deve Gowda has said that his party will not ally either with the BJP or the Congress for the Karnataka assembly bypolls in December. His assertion comes amid speculation of the Janata Dal Secular cozying up to the BJP ever since its coalition government with the Congress collapsed on the floor of the state assembly earlier this year.

"We are going to contest. No question of any alliance with the BJP or Congress. Even in the local body elections, we are going to contest on our own. No coalition. It is absolutely clear. No question or iota of doubt should be there in anybody's mind," he told NDTV on Wednesday, when asked about his party's strategy for the upcoming elections.

Cracks had emerged in the Congress-Janata Dal Secular alliance after it failed the floor test in July, with former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Congress chief Siddaramaiah locking horns on several occasions. Speculation that Deve Gowda was warming up to the BJP came from a recent phone call to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and a tweet endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's act of picking up trash from Tamil Nadu's Mahabalipuram beach last month. Recently, the veteran politician even put up photographs of his visit to the Statue of Unity - a pet project of the Narendra Modi government.

However, both Deve Gowda and BS Yediyurappa denied that the phone call held any political value. "There is no truth in this. Deve Gowda, as a former Prime Minister, has the capacity to know the difference between right and wrong," the Chief Minister said, when asked if the Janata Dal Secular chief wanted to extend his party's support to the ruling BJP.

Deve Gowda, on the other hand, claimed that he had only called to talk about a book fair expected to be held at Bengaluru's Palace Grounds.

On Tuesday, the 86-year-old politician had told news agency PTI in an interview that neither the Congress nor the BJP can be trusted. "We will have nothing to do with them. Both are untrustworthy. They will use us when they want, and then destroy us. Both the parties have the same character," he was quoted as saying.

The bypolls are necessitated due to the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and Janata Dal Secular MLAs by former Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law earlier this year.

(With inputs from PTI)

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