Deve Gowda sends mixed signals on JD(S) strategy after bypolls

Gowda says his party will keep both BJP and Congress at a distance

JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda

Sending mixed signals, JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda on Monday said he will work for strengthening his party keeping both the BJP and Congress at a distance, days after hinting at a possible post bypoll alliance in Karnataka with the Sonia Gandhi-led party.

The former prime ministers comments came a day after the Congress indicated it was not averse to joining hands with JDS, its erstwhile coalition partner, once again to form a government in the state in case the ruling BJP falls short of majority after the December 5 assembly bypolls.

"I have had experience (of running a government) with both. With BJP I have had the experience of running a government because of my son (H D Kumaraswamy), and with my approval we had (a government) with Congress also," Gowda said.

Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, he said, "Keeping both at a distance, saying 'namasakara' to both of them, I will work beyond my limits to strengthen my party."

Gowda has recently said Congress President Sonia Gandhi's decision after the bypolls should be watched out for, leading to speculation about the possible coming together of the two parties once again, if situation arose.

Kumaraswamy too had said there would be a stable government in the state after the bypolls, but not necessarily that of BJP, as he asked media persons to wait for the results of the bypolls to 15 assmebly constituencies to be declared on December 9.

Sounding upbeat after forming a coalition government in neighboring Maharashtra, senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and G Parameshwara on Sunday said there was a possibility of the two parties coming together.

The Congress and JD(S), who ran a coalition government for 14 months in the state and contested Lok Sabha polls in alliance, have parted ways after the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy ministry in July following the rebellion by 17 MLAs and are contesting the bypolls independently.

The ruling BJP led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa needs to win at least six seats in the bypolls to remain in a majority in the 224-member assembly, which would still have two vacant seats-- Maski and R R Nagar.

Gowda had earlier said he wants Yediyurappa-led BJP government to complete its term as it would give him time to build the regional party.

JD(S) had also run a coalition government with BJP in 2006 and under a rotational chief ministership arrangement, Kumaraswamy had helmed the state for 20 months, before it collapsed.