Deve Gowda

Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] chief HD Deve Gowda said on Friday that mid-term elections could be held anytime in Karnataka. He said that the people were watching the behaviour of the Congress in the State; so, he could not say how long the State government would sustain.

Deve Gowda said, “There is no doubt that there will be mid-term polls. They (Congress) had said they will give support to us for five years. I am watching all the developments and their behaviour. Our people are intelligent. We need not have to teach them.” He was speaking to reporters here.

The father of the serving chief minister of Karnataka and former prime minister said further, “There is no danger from our side and I do not know how long this government will survive. It is in the hands of the Congress, not Kumaraswamy. We gave them a place in the Cabinet.”

Deve Gowda said, “The Congress promised to support us for five years, but the people are watching their behaviour.”

Deve Gowda revealed that he wanted to see senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge as the chief minister. He said, “I was like the gum for the coalition. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi sent Kirti Azad and Ashok Gehlot to Bengaluru. Together we all held a meeting.”

The former prime minister further told Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjun Kharge, Muniyappa and Parameshwara that Mallikarjun Kharge should be made the chief minister. Then Kharge said that if the Congress high command said so, he could accept it.

Deve Gowda said that he took the call of Azad and told Rahul Gandhi that Khadge should be appointed as the chief minister. Then Azad reportedly replied that the Congress high command wanted Kumaraswamy to continue as the chief minister.

Reacting to his father’s statement, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said Deve Gowda did not actually talk of a mid-term election. He talked about local body elections! He just said how the government was formed in 2018. He said that the government would run for the next 4 years and will “work for development”.

Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa said, “Kumaraswamy says that my father’s statement was misconstrued. The JD(S)-Congress alliance reached the verge of a breakdown. Let me tell you clearly that no midterm elections will be held, as we all are 105. If they have the capacity, let them run the government or else they will go. Then we will manage the administration. There is no need for another election so soon. People will never accept it.”

The Karnataka election was held for the 224-member Assembly last year. In the election, no party got the absolute majority. The BJP emerged as the largest party and won 104 seats while the Congress got 80 seats and the JD(S) 37 seats.

In spite of the fractured mandate, the BJP offered a claim to form the government. Yeddyurappa took the oath too. But when it came to proving a majority in the Assembly, the BJP failed. Then, the Congress quickly offered the post of the chief minister to Kumaraswamy and thus, the party that had secured the least number of seats occupied the seat of power.