Deve Gowda rules out alliance with Congress, BJP for Karnataka bypolls

Janata Dal (Secular) president H D Deve Gowda has dismissed any possibility of having an electoral tie-up with either the Congress or the BJP for December 5 bypolls in Karnataka, describing both the national parties as "not trustworthy" and having the "same character".

In an interview to PTI on Tuesday, the former prime minister said JD(S) would contest the bypolls to fill 15 vacancies in Karnataka Assembly alone and "certainly maintain equidistance" from the Congress and the BJP.

The veteran politician also said he was in fact reluctant to have a tie-up with Congress after the May 2018 Karnataka election.

"It was the Congress which came to me after the election and persuaded us for formation of Congress-JD(S) government. Initially I did not agree but after prolonged persuasion by the Congress I accepted (the alliance)," Deve Gowda said.

Asked about JD (S)'s strategy for the bypolls, the 86-year-old JD(S) patriarch quipped, "We have nothing to do with Congress and BJP. Both of them are not trustworthy. They will use us when they want and destroy us later. Both the parties are of the same character".

"There is no question of JD(S) having any electoral tie-up with any of these two parties Congress or the BJP and we will go alone," Deve Gowda reiterated.

Asked if he was softening towards the BJP in view of exchange of tweets of appreciation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he replied in the negative: "Nothing like that."

The bypolls are necessitated due to the disqualification of 17 legislators of Congress and JD(S) under the anti-defection law by the then Speaker of Karnataka Assembly.

The MLAs later filed a petition in the Supreme Court on which the order is reserved.

The EC has announced the poll schedule for only 15 of the 17 constituencies. It could not do so for Maski and Rajarajeshwari Nagar segments as petitions are pending in the Karnataka High Court relating to 2018 assembly poll.

Winning a majority of seats in the bypolls is necessary for the ruling BJP led by B S Yeddyurappa to stay in power.

The constituencies polling on December 5 are: Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K R Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K R Pete and Hunsur.

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