As the ruling Congress in Karnataka moves ahead aggressively to poach leaders from the opposition parties including the JD (S), its supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda announced that he has pledged to save the party.
Speaking to reporters, Deve Gowda declared that no legislator will quit the JD (S). The news about the JD (S) leaders’ alleged exodus to the Congress is just a rumour, he added.
He maintained that a meeting would be held on September 10 and party leaders and workers from all the districts would take part in it. “I request all the workers not to desert me at the age of 91,” he appealed.
Many programmes would be organized. “We don’t have hatred towards opposition parties. I want to organize programmes in the interest of the party. We will organize the party and save it. I will also actively take part in party work. I have resolved to retain the identity of the party, facing competition from the national parties Congress and BJP,” he stated.
“I know how the politics of the country works. The core committee members will tour the state. I am watching the developments after the Congress took over the reins of government. No one should take former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy (his son) lightly. No one can take him for granted,” Deve Gowda said.
Meanwhile, the Congress is vigorously moving ahead with the plans for “Operation Hast” through which it is trying to poach leaders from the JD (S) which has 19 MLAs and one MP. The Congress, by projecting deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar as the face of the party in the assembly elections, managed to dent the influential Vokkaliga vote bank in south Karnataka.
The Vokkaliga vote bank is the core strength of the JD (S) and the Vokkaligas rallied behind Deve Gowda. Shivakumar succeeded in emerging as the alternate leader of the Vokkaliga community. There is a straight fight between Kumaraswamy and Shivakumar for the Vokkaliga vote bank, sources said.
If the JD (S) leaders join the Congress, it will strengthen the hands of Shivakumar. According to sources, Shivakumar has planned to pull more than six MLAs from the JD (S) to weaken the Deve Gowda family.