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Former prime minister and national president of the Janata Dal (Secular) H D Devegowda has claimed that his party would be a force to reckon with, both in Karnataka and the rest of the country, after the results of the Lok Sabha elections.
He however stressed he was not an aspirant of the prime minister’s post. “I am not aspiring to be the Prime Minister. I want to bring my party to power in Karnataka,” the 80-year-old leader, who is set to contest the Hassan seat, said.
The JDS would finalize its manifesto in a couple of days and he would later campaign for the party, Gowda added.
The JDS leader on Friday also attacked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for claiming that the JDS had entered into poll pacts in some constituencies to defeat Congress candidates. He claimed he had not spoken to any senior state BJP leaders regarding an alliance.
“As far as Karnataka is concerned, BJP leaders have come to the conclusion that only Narendra Modi’s charm will bring them about 23 seats. On the other hand, the chief minister here is claiming that he will not allow even a single seat for JDS.
The people of this country are watching. They have political maturity and they will give their verdict. Please wait till May 16 when counting is over to see what will happen,” he said.
Gowda said the JDS had not fielded candidates in two constituencies – Koppal and Dakshina Kannada. In Koppal, the party would back a secular party and in Dakshina Kannada, it will support the candidature of the Social Democratic Party of India, JDS leaders said.
Reacting to allegations by Siddaramaiah that Gowda had fielded a Muslim candidate, Abdul Azeem, in Bangalore North with the intention of defeating former JDS member C Narayanaswamy and ensuring victory for the BJP, senior party leader Zameer Ahmed said the Congress had also fielded a minority candidate in Bangalore North in 2009 enabling a BJP victory.
Gowda on Friday also said he would not write off the Aam Aadmi Party in the Lok Sabha polls. He was responding to a query on CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s view on AAP joining the third front. “Aam Aadmi Party has come up with young leaders who want to fight against corruption in the Parliament, their voice will be there,’’ he said.