JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda on Tuesday said he wants the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government to complete its term as it would give him time to build his party.
Targeting Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, the former Prime Minister said the Congress may want mid-term assembly polls soon as he was eager to become Chief Minister once again.
I have also said what HD Kumaraswamy has said. Let BS Yediyurappa rule the state for three years and 8 months. I don't want to remove BS Yediyurappa, I want to build the party.
If elections are held tomorrow do I have the capacity to field 224 candidates, Mr Gowda said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said Siddaramaiah may have that strength (to face mid-term polls), he is AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) leader, I don't know any such leaders.
If elections are held tomorrow for 224 seats will I be able to finalise the candidates? I have said you (Yediyurappa) rule. If I get time I can fight, he added.
Mr Gowda's son and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy too had recently said his party would not try and dislodge the ruling BJP government like the party had done to his coalition government and had opined that he did not think that mid-term polls would be held.
HD Kumaraswamy had cited hampering of development work, also ongoing relief and rehabilitation work in flood-hit parts of the state due to mid-term polls as the reason for his statement.
Siddaramaiah, reacting to HD Kumaraswamy, has said the latter's statement gave an impression that he would support the BJP and had recalled that the JDS had formed the government with BJP with power sharing formula of 20 months each in 2006.
On Tuesday too Siddaramaiah said HD Kumaraswamy's recent statement was out of fear that more JDS legislators may jump ship to BJP.
Responding to a question, Mr Gowda said, You (Yediyurappa) rule the state aptly. Let him (Yediyurappa) rule for three-and-half years, I will get some time to build the party...Siddaramaiah may want election tomorrow, I dont want. He (Siddaramaiah) is now Leader of Opposition, becoming Chief Minister was the only thing remaining for him, he added.
Deve Gowda, Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy had until recently predicted the collapse of the Yediyurappa government and possibility of mid-term polls in the state.
Mr Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy's statements have come in as a relief for the BJP, which will need to win at least six of 15 seats that will go to the bypolls on December 5, to remain in power.
There is also speculation that JD(S) may extend support to the BJP if it fails to win maximum number of seats in the bypolls.
Amid reports that Mr Gowda had spoken to BS Yediyurappa over phone recently assuring support, the former Prime Minister issued a statement rejecting it, terming it far from truth.
Mr Gowda during the presser also reiterated that his party that had run a government and contested Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress, will contest alone in the bypolls.
After the Supreme Courts verdict on disqualified MLAs, if election happens we will contest...we will not join hands with any one, we will contest separately, he said.
Bypolls to 15 of 17 seats represented by disqualified MLAs, whose resignation and absence from the trust vote led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, and made way for the BJP to come to power, will be held on December 5.
The then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified them as MLAs, ruling that those disqualified, cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th assembly (in 2023), which they have challenged in the Supreme Court, and the matter is currently being heard by the top Court.