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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

President polls: Part of Opp talks, JD(S) too veers around to Droupadi Murmu

Droupadi Murmu already has sufficient backing and does not need our support, but she has nevertheless asked for our support, and that is a sign of her goodness said former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: June 30, 2022 9:09:10 am
HD Kumaraswamy (Express file photo)

The Janata Dal (Secular), which had attended a meeting called by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to decide on a joint Opposition name as the presidential candidate, indicated on Wednesday that it would back the ruling NDA’s Droupadi Murmu.

While underlining that this should not be seen as support for the BJP, JD(S) leader and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said: “Droupadi Murmu already has sufficient backing and does not need our support, but she has nevertheless asked for our support, and that is a sign of her goodness.”

Kumaraswamy also said that Murmu, who looks set to win in the election to be held next month, had telephoned former prime minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda twice to seek support. “She also wanted to come personally to Bengaluru, but there is no need for her to do so to seek support. In my view, Murmu has already won the polls,” he said.

Kumaraswamy said he also understood Murmu’s “life journey, her background, the struggles she has undergone, her rise from a downtrodden community”. “The rise of a woman from a tribal community to such a high position is worthy of admiration,” he said.

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The JD(S) has two members in Parliament — Deve Gowda in the Rajya Sabha, and his grandson Prajwal Revanna in the Lok Sabha — as well as 30 MLAs in Karnataka, who are eligible to vote in the presidential polls.

Kumaraswamy also stated that the JD(S) support for Murmu, instead of Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, was not a sign of the party aligning with the BJP or being a “B team of the BJP”, as alleged by the rival Congress party in Karnataka.

“There is no question of the Congress and BJP in this decision (to back Murmu). The question of being the B team of any party does not arise in the presidential polls,” Kumaraswamy said, suggesting that the JD(S) was going by the credentials of Murmu rather than her party association.

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The JD(S) has been frequently accused by the Congress of growing proximity to the BJP, ever since the breakdown of a JD(S)-Congress alliance in 2019. Kumaraswamy has attempted to blunt this accusation in recent weeks through vocal attacks on the BJP, RSS and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Bengaluru to inaugurate a slew of projects in the city.

The JD(S), which has also allied with the BJP in the past, in post-poll arrangements, is keen to maintain a non-aligned identity in the run-up to the 2023 Assembly elections. It sees this as its best bet to win as many seats as possible, leaving it in a position of power should the polls again see a close finish.

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First published on: 29-06-2022 at 08:13:52 pm

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