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'We are still not married, just engagement is over'

By Prasanna D Zore
May 18, 2018 12:30 IST
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'Why is the entire Cabinet running around in Bangalore?'
'Why are they making arrangements for horse-trading?'
'Is this not the BJP's greed for power?'
'They have won the entire country. Why are they so desperate for Karnataka?'

IMAGE: Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress with the Janata Dal-Secular's H D Kumaraswamy. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo

"This (alliance between the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular) is not greed (for power); it is necessary for the state. It is necessary for protecting secularism in Karnataka and India," D Kupendra Reddy, the Janata Dal-Secular's Rajya Sabha member, tells's Prasanna D Zore.

A former Congressman who switched sides to the JD-S four years ago and is a regular who attends all meetings to sew together a united opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 general election, Reddy insists not a single JD-S MLA will help the BJP reach the magical number of 111.


As we speak, newly-elected legislators from the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular are protesting outside the Vidhana Soudha (state assembly) in Bengaluru.

Obviously, there is anger. We have 117 MLAs (37 from the JD-S, 78 from the Congress and two Independents) and they (the BJP) are just 104.

The governor has called (B S Yeddyurappa to form the government) quoting the 1986 S R Bommai judgment or something like that.

We are quoting the recent (Supreme Court) judgment on Goa (upholding Governor Mridula Sinha's act of inviting the BJP with just 11 MLAs to form the government after it cobbled together a post-poll alliance with the Goa Forward Party and Independents to reach the half way mark of 20 in the 40-member House). But the governor ignored our plea.

We also gave him (Governor Vajubhai Vala) the letters (of support of 117 MLAs) within 15 minutes after the assembly results became clear (on May 15).

There are media reports that a couple of Congress and JD-S MLAs are missing from the protest at the Vidhana Soudha...

If you were to come here I would have shown all our MLAs to you. The entire group of our legislators is intact.

About the Congress, only one person is missing. In the morning they came (for the protest).

What kind of measures will you be adopting to keep all your MLAs intact?

All our MLAs belong to the rural parts of the state. They will never ever yield for money or under any pressure.

We are protecting them. But there is no serious threat to our MLAs because nobody will bow to pressure or inducements.

If you are so confident of keeping your flock together, then why take them to resorts? Aren't you doing that out of fear of your MLAs being poached?

Horse-trading is the reason, but remember, all our MLAs come from the rural belt. They will not yield.

Many of them have been approached (by the BJP).

They (BJP leaders) have met every MLA before reaching Bangalore and they (JD-S MLAs) were offered many things including what our leader (H D Kumaraswamy) has said (he alleged that the BJP had offered Rs 100 crores each to MLAs willing to switch sides).

Despite such inducements, not a single MLA fell for their bait. There is no problem of keeping our flock together.

How ethical is it for the JD-S to enter into a post-poll alliance with the Congress, against which your party fought bitterly in the assembly election?

We (the JD-S and Congress) are secular. We have to go with like-minded people only.

Didn't you remember that you were secular when you fought against the Congress?
Now that both the Congress and JD-S need each other to keep the BJP from forming a government, you have suddenly remembered secularism being a common ground to form a post-poll alliance.

There is no option. We have to go with secular (people) only.

Our national leader (former prime minister H D Deve Gowda) is the biggest secular man.

Where was your love for secular people before the election? Isn't your secularism convenient now that the Congress has offered the chief ministership to H D Kumaraswamy?

It doesn't make any difference if either they (the Congress) have a chief minister or we have our chief minister.

They (the Congress) were in power for five years and they said (this time) we will support you. They will also be part of our government.

How do you react to accusations that the JD-S is more interested in the chief ministership and so it has formed a post-poll partnership with the Congress?

We are not thinking like the BJP. We are not greedy for any posts.

Why is Yeddyurappa running after the post (of chief minister)?

Why is the entire (Union) Cabinet running around in Bangalore?

And why are they making arrangements for horse-trading? Is this not the BJP's greed for power?

They have won the entire country. Why are they so desperate for Karnataka?

Do you agree that everybody is greedy for power, including the JD-S and Congress?

Politics is (about) that (power) only.

Politics is about greed for power?

No, no. What the BJP is doing (in Karnataka) shows their greed for power. That is greed for power.

And what the JD-S and Congress are doing is not greed for power?

No. This (alliance between the Congress and JD-S) is not greed (for power); it is necessary for the (betterment) of the state. It is necessary for protecting secularism in Karnataka and India.

See how the BJP is ruling the country and how it ruled Karnataka (from 2008 to 2013).

Their chief minister went to jail. Is there any other party whose incumbent chief minister was jailed?

The same person is now the chief minister. How many of their ministers went to jail?

That is greed for power.

Why do you think the BJP wants to form a government in Karnataka?

The BJP is scared that if the JDS-Congress government comes to power in Karnataka then they will be wiped out in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state.

I am 100 per cent sure that the BJP will lose Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh; in Andhra too they will be defeated. They have no standing in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The BJP fears they will be wiped off in South India (if they don't form a government in Karnataka).

All the secular forces in the country are uniting (against the BJP).

Given the bonhomie between the JD-S and Congress in Karnataka, and given your claim that your two parties are coming together to save secularism in Karnataka, will you form a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the 2019 general election?

That I don't know; it is yet to be decided.

We are still not married, just engagement is over. We will see if we have to get married.

Does that mean there are chances of the engagement being broken before 2019?

I am not saying that. Nobody will break the engagement.

We have come together now; we will decide what we have to do at the Centre; we will do everything step by step. This is just our first step.

What are the chances that the JD-S and Congress will actually succeed in forming the next government in Karnataka?

Why should anyone have any doubt about that? We have the majority (of MLAs) with us.

But Yeddyurappa is also confident of proving his majority in the House.

Let him prove it then.

Every time he is saying he will prove it. Let him do it first.

He gives a letter to the governor at 9 pm (on May 16) and at 9.30 am the next morning, he is taking the oath. Where is his confidence?

The people have given the mandate to secular parties to come together.

If you see the percentage of votes (polled by the Congress and JD-S together) given by the people of my state, and not how many elected members which party won, then we have got 58 per cent of the votes.

Why didn't this realisation dawn upon the JD-S and Congress before the election? Why didn't you enter a pre-poll alliance?

We have our own workers and they have their own workers. Everybody has their ambitions.

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Prasanna D Zore /