H D Kumaraswamy is a confident man. Just as confident as every politician before elections, despite the reality. He is confident that his partymen will corner 12-13 seats in the 15th Lok Sabha. He is also confident that these elections will see the regrouping of Janata Pariwar leaders. He pooh-poohs the Narendra Modi phenomenon and thinks little of Rahul Gandhi. And he’s looking forward to his party’s “agnipareeksha” and the subsequent formation of Third Front. He thinks there’s nothing wrong with Jayalalitha becoming prime minister, despite the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu relations being in testy waters. Excerpts from an interview:
dna: Is there a NaMo wave in Karnataka? Will it affect JD-S’s chances?
HDK: There is no such wave in Karnataka. It’s just BJP’s propaganda. They are neglecting the importance of my party right now and even BJP leader HN Ananth Kumar says that the fight is between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. I agree that my party is facing ‘agni pareekshe’ and I will pass this time. It is the time for a regional party. Karnataka people will reject BJP as they have witnessed the bad governance of BJP for last five years in the state and Congress scams at the Center.
dna: What’s your target?
HDK: At least 16-18 parliamentary seats. But I am sure JD(S) certainly will achieve 12-13 seats this time.
dna: Your views about BS Yeddyurappa?
HDK: Whole nation witnessed what BJP and BSY said about each other. After all the drama of BJP and KJP, BSY has lost his credibility and it will not help BJP.
dna: Don’t you think it was you who helped BJP come to power? Now you are fighting the same party...
HDK: I know. But after I reaslised that communal forces were becoming strong, I did not allow BJP to form the government. I played the role of a strong opposition by digging out out many scams of the BJP government.
Q: But BJP supported you during the LS by-election in Bangalore Rural...
HDK: BJP played a drama and tried to give an impression that JD(S) and BJP had a tie-up. It helped Congress. It won’t happen this time. Actually it seems to be BJP and Congress have some understanding in facing LS polls in the state.
Q: What’s your opinion of AAP?
HDK: AAP will only snatch votes of BJP and Congress and it won’t affect us. Opponents have given us the tag of ‘rural party’. But we’ll highlight the development work we undertook. We will also use the social media to attract youth.
Q: Modi or Rahul?
HDK: That will only be decided after the results of the election. I will safeguard Karnataka’s interests.
Q: Will ‘Janata Pariwar’ leaders join hands again?
HDK: The forthcoming elections will be a watershed moment for the rebuilding of Janata Pariwar. Our leaders are spread in Congress and BJP and I believe they are regrouping. Even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was a Janata Pariwar leader. Siddaramaiah has already clarified that he will not contest elections after he completes his tenure. It can’t be ruled out that he may guide the Janata Pariwar leaders after his retirement from active politics.
Q: Are you going to face former CM M Veerappa Moily from Chikkaballapur?
HDK: My party workers are putting pressure on me to contest from there. But I am yet to decide.
Q: You were MLA of Ramanagar and quit the post to become MP of Bangalore Rural. Again you quit as MP to become MLA of Ramanagar. Now you are again quitting as MLA to contest Lok Sabha elections...
HDK: I made those decisions based on political situations.