Bengaluru: Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar has dismissed suggestions that Congress President Rahul Gandhi, by calling JD(S) as the ‘B Team’ of BJP, had closed the doors of an alliance with JD(S) in case of a fractured mandate.
The Minister, however, was quick to insist that such an eventuality would not arise as there would be no hung Assembly as the Congress was confident of winning over 132 seats.
Shivakumar, who was participating in a Meet the Press programme of the Press Club of Bangalore and the Bangalore Reporters’ Guild in Bengaluru yesterday, said that uncertainty in the BJP, on the other hand, was clearly visible due to PM Modi’s flip-flop on JD(S).
“Look at the way Modi tried to embrace JD(S) by praising Deve Gowda one day. That he made a U-turn the next is a different issue. This shows the BJP has realised it cannot come to power on its own,’’ he contended, adding, “Whether the JD(S) and BJP want to have any kind of alliance is left to them. As a political party, the Congress only wanted JD(S) to make its secular credentials clear to the public,” he said.
Shivakumar, who is also the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Campaign Committee Chairman, said that the dominant Vokkaliga community has not distanced itself from the ruling Congress and the Government has treated all communities equally during the last five years.
On his chances of becoming the Chief Minister, Shivakumar said that he was not in the contention for the CM’s post. Elections are being fought under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddharamaiah. “Whoever Rahul Gandhi selects, he will be the CM and we all will follow the directions,” he said.
Asked about his softening stand on JD(S) and especially its Chief Deve Gowda, the Minister was dismissive of such speculation. “When I was young, I used to be rude and spoke harshly about others. But now I am older and people have advised me to be more polite. Otherwise, I am still a political rival of JD(S),’’ he said.
Coming down hard on the PM for his critical comments on Bengaluru, he recalled that during Pravasi Bharat Divas in the city he had wooed global investors by saying it had the best infrastructure. “Now, what has it done to be called a garbage city and other names? This is nothing but a political gimmick to get votes,’’ he contended.
He alleged that the Modi Government has been misusing the Income Tax Department for conducting raids on small party leaders and workers in the run-up to the elections. The raids were conducted so far only on residences of Congress leaders. Not a single BJP leader’s residence has been raided so far, he claimed.