The former prime minister and JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda made it clear on Saturday that there was no question of his party supporting the BJP government in Karnataka after the December 5 Assembly by-polls to 15 constituencies. "There is no question of extending support to the (BS) Yediyurappa government. We will try to strengthen our party by keeping away from the Congress and the BJP," the Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch said in a telephonic interview to PTI amidst his election campaign in Karnataka's Chikballapur.
Asked about his son and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy's reported statement in the media that the JD(S) would support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if the latter had a shortage to prove majority to avoid frequent elections, Deve Gowda said, "I do not know under what context Kumaraswamy said this, if the media reports are correct." The former prime minister expressed confidence that the JD(S) would win all the 15 seats in the upcoming by-polls, including in those segments where the then rebel MLAs of the party were contesting on BJP tickets. He said there was a remote possibility of the emergence of a JD(S)-BJP or a JD(S)-Congress combination post the by-polls.
"Even if the BJP loses in the by-polls, it would need the support of the JD(S) for its survival. Unless the JD(S) and the Congress come together, where is the threat to the BJP government? The BJP government will survive unless the Congress and the JD(S) come together. I do not know what would be the Congress's stand post the by-polls," Deve Gowda said. In the 224-member Assembly, the BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of one Independent legislator. The Congress has 66 members, the JD(S) 34 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one.
Of the 17 vacant seats due to the disqualification of the sitting MLAs, the by-polls are being held for 15 as there are election petitions pending in the Karnataka High Court for two seats -- Maski and Rajarajeshwari Nagar. The Yediyurappa government needs the support of at least six more MLAs for its survival. If the BJP does not win a minimum of six seats in the by-polls, it will have to seek support from other parties to continue and complete its term. Deve Gowda had earlier said both the Congress and the BJP were of the "same character" and that they were "not trustworthy".
The JD(S) would "certainly maintain an equal distance from both the national parties", he had told PTI earlier, while asserting that there would be no question of any reconsideration. The by-polls are being held to the Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K R Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, K R Pete and Hunsur Assembly seats.