August 4, 2021 2:41:40 am
AS BJP Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai shuttles between Bengaluru and Delhi trying to put together his Cabinet and manage various pressure points, a courtesy meeting followed by a remark by JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda has set political circles abuzz.
Bommai called on Deve Gowda, a close associate of his late father S R Bommai, on August 1. Later, the JD(S) leader and former prime minister said, “I told them to do good work. If you are working for the welfare of the state and the people, you will have our support. We will not create any problems. If you have any issues with the Centre, I can raise them as a Rajya Sabha member.”
The statement is being seen as the JD(S) supremo’s hint of a support in case the BJP faces dissension in the wake of a Cabinet expansion due this week.
Deve Gowda said Bommai had sought to meet him as a former colleague from the Janata Parivar, to which his father belonged. The CM said he had come to seek the former PM’s blessings due to his close association and friendship with his father. “He has said we will have his full support when it comes to issues concerning the state. I am very happy,” he said.
A veteran politician said Deve Gowda’s statement “can be interpreted in 10 different ways”. “It could be an offer to back the BJP in case of dissension. It could be a ruse to prevent defections from the JD(S) to other parties.”
The JD(S), that has 32 MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly, was part of a coalition government with the Congress in 2018-19 before defections to the BJP brought it down. There have been reports recently of many JD(S) MLAs looking for greener pastures.
Earlier, former JD(S) CM H D Kumaraswamy had indicated the party would be willing to back a BJP government to prevent mid-term polls in the event of it coming under threat from rebels.
The JD(S) has been losing ground in its stronghold in southern Karnataka, dominated by Deve Gowda’s Vokkaliga community, to the BJP. It has already slipped a lot in north where the Lingayat community, to which former BJP CM B S Yediyurappa as well as Bommai belong, is dominant.