Bypoll tie-up: Kumaraswamy plays his cards close to chest

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kumaraswamy10Bangalore, August 6, 2013: JD (S) state president H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday said the main aim of his party is to defeat the Congress in the by-elections to two Lok Sabha seats.

However, unlike his father H D Deve Gowda, he did not deny that the JD (S) will have no understanding with the BJP to achieve the set goal.

In an interaction with this newspaper, Kumaraswamy said that the foremost goal is to retain the two LS seats. “Politically, the Congress’ main agenda is to finish the JD (S). Our battle, and priority, is to retain the seats. These seats have been associated with our party for a long time and have been vacated due to our resignations. It is our duty to win the seats.” he said.

While sidestepping the question whether the JD (S) has accepted an alliance with the BJP, he said the main aim is very clear for him as winning these elections are a necessary testimonial for the party’s survival. For that, the Congress has to be defeated. He neither confirmed nor denied a tie-up with the BJP.

Asked why the party had not fielded their candidates for the legislative council by-elections, the former chief minister said that all the three seats were the stronghold of the BJP and, hence, his party was not competing.

“Besides, as our National President (H D Deve Gowda) has said earlier, there is a problem within the party to fund the MLC elections. Further, even our party workers are not keen to contest the elections for these three seats,” he justified.

But his MLA brother H D Revanna said that he did not know the meaning of understanding. “It is Kumaraswamy who takes care of such things in the party,” he added.

On Siddaramaiah criticising the JD (S) for holding talks with the BJP, Revanna  said the Congress had forged an alliance with the BJP in Mysore zilla panchayat in the past. The Chief Minister should first clarify about it, he said sarcastically.

Though the BJP and JD (S) leaders are not ready to openly declare having formed an alliance for the by-polls to LS and Council seats, their actions in the last two days are clearly hinting at a tacit understanding between the two parties.

While the BJP is demanding that the JD (S) make the understanding they have arrived at official by issuing a public statement, the JD (S) is not ready to do so because party national president  Deve Gowda is opposed to making any such statement. He has left it to his son Kumaraswamy to handle the issue.

Leaders of both the parties do admit in private that the talks are still on, while silently working on implementing the agreement.

The JD (S) has not fielded any candidate for the council by polls from Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and Chitradurga. The last date for filing nominations was Monday.

The nomination papers of the BJP candidate for Bangalore rural LS constituency T Muniraju has been rejected on technical grounds. Similarly, the papers of party’s Mandya candidate B N Lokesh has been rejected. Now, the only step to be taken to implement the unwritten and undeclared agreement is to ensure BJP’s M Krishnappa withdraws his papers filed for Bangalore rural seat.

Krishnappa is the BJP MLA from Bangalore south Assembly constituency and a close follower of former minister R Ashoka. He wields considerable clout in his constituency.
Besides, the BJP has strong presence in Anekal, Rajarajeshwarinagar and Kunigal Assembly segments which come under Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seat. The JD (S), therefore, wants Krishnappa to back out, sources said.

Wednesday is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.

Anitha, wife of Kumaraswamy, is the JD (S) candidate for Bangalore rural, facing Congress leader D K Shivakumar’s brother D K Suresh as Congress nominee. C S Puttaraju is the nominee of the JD (S) in Mandya, who may face a stiff fight from Ramya of the Congress. A clear picture of the candidates who remain in the fray would emerge on Wednesday after withdrawals.

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