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Kumaraswamy Says JD(S) Nobody's B or C-team, But Remains Cryptic on Any Post-Poll Alliances

In remarks that raised eyebrows in political circles, PM Modi lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for insulting Deve Gowda, one of the 'tallest leaders' in the country.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:May 2, 2018, 12:00 AM IST
Kumaraswamy Says JD(S) Nobody's B or C-team, But Remains Cryptic on Any Post-Poll Alliances
File photo of HD Kumaraswamy (left) with his father and JD(S) chief Deve Gowda. (PTI)
Bengaluru: Janata Dal (Secular), the third cog in the wheel in the battle for Karnataka, has been called many names during the heated poll campaign, including the ‘B-team’ of the BJP and the ‘Kingmaker’, but party leaders have maintained that once the results come out, they will emerge as the rightful ‘King’.

But cracks on the post poll strategy have already surfaced, with JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda saying he would disown his son and state president HD Kumaraswamy if he chose to align with the BJP in case of a fractured mandate.

Speculation that there could be an understanding between the two parties has only increased after Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Gowda during his speech in Udupi on Tuesday, calling him one of the “tallest” leaders of the country. Modi also lashed out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for "insulting" the JD(S) supremo.

In a conversation with CNN-News18’s Deepa Balakrishnan, Kumaraswamy remained tight-lipped about the future despite Gowda’s warning, but expressed confidence that the JD(S) would be able to secure victory on its own.

Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Q: You have been accused of being the BJP's B-team. How do you react to this?

A: I’m not in anybody’s A-team, B-team or C-team. That's just bad propaganda spread by current CM and his coterie. I'm in the team of Karnataka's voters.

Q: But PM Modi has praised your father too and it raises suspicions that you have a tacit understanding.

A: The PM praised father because he has done honest work for so many years. Not a single black mark was there in his ten month administration. For that reason the PM praised him, I think.

Q: There have been allegations that you have been paid crores for your campaign.

A: Our party is a small party. It is a regional party. For ten years, we were not in power. How do we spend crores? All bogus lies they are spreading.

Q: More important than pre-poll alliances is what will happen post poll. Your father has said he will disown you if you join hands with the BJP.

A: All those issues are not raised as it won't take place. Due to my hard work, I have full confidence that JD(S) will get 113, the magic number on our own.

Q: So if you don't, will you sit in the opposition benches?

A: At that time, I will tell you. That confidence is there. I will get a clear majority. I toured the entire state. Compared to Congress and BJP leaders, I worked very hard. People know who to vote for. They will vote for the JD(S).

Q: But to some extent, Siddaramaiah has hijacked the pro-farmer, pro-poor image of the JD(S).

A: Siddaramaiah’s five years in administration will not work out for him.

Q: But he has eaten into the JD(S) image of being pro-farmer.

A: How, how? This is my image and party strength, he cannot take it away.

Q: Are you confident of defeating him in Chamundeshwari?

A: I will not defeat him. The voters in Chamundeshwari and Badami will defeat Siddaramaiah in both constituencies.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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