Be clear about ideology, party leader tells JD(S) brass


Shivalinge Gowda tells Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy that party workers should not be kept in confusion

Senior Janata Dal (Secular) leaders, who have in recent weeks been denying having any truck with the BJP, had to field questions from their own partymen on the issue on Thursday. Questions posed by MLA for Arsikere K.M. Shivalinge Gowda to party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy reflected the thoughts of many within the party.

“We are all confused about our ideology. You take a decision on it so that we follow and we rally behind you. There should be one ideology for the party. We should decide and stick with it,” Mr. Shivalinge Gowda told the leaders at the party’s meeting of office-bearers of all districts and legislators here. “There is a need for a regional party in the State. The party is still strong and should not change its stand,” he added.

Mr. Shivalinge Gowda’s advice at the meeting came, even as Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Deve Gowda recently issued clarification over rumours about the JD(S) striking an alliance with the ruling BJP, and even a possible merger of the regional party with the saffron outfit. Over the last fortnight, Mr. Kumaraswamy, who was seen as “soft-peddling” issues pertaining to the BJP government earlier, is being more aggressive in his denial of the party’s alliance or merger.

Seeks meeting

The three-time legislator from Arsikere in Hassan district also sought a meeting with senior leaders so that he could explain the ground realities. “There is lot of misinformation being spread about the JD(S). Please invite us to a meeting and we will share inputs on it,” he added.

Mr. Shivalinge Gowda was also critical of his senior party colleague and seven-time MLC Basavaraj Horatti for speaking to the press about a possible alliance, and causing confusion among the workers. He accused Mr. Horatti of doing so to become the chairman of the Legislative Council. “There are 50 to 60% secular votes. If it organises, then it can hit back at Hindutva votes.”

Mr. Kumaraswamy, who later addressed the gathering, reiterated that there would be no alliance or merger with the BJP. “There is a systematic arrangement to sully the party’s image by floating rumours of alliance or merger with the BJP,” he said. He said leaders should not speak in public, but air their views on party forum.

To attract all castes

The JD(S), which is identified as a party with a large Vokkaliga voter base, will identify caste-based leaders from other communities to broaden the base. “Caste is part of the winnability factor of candidates when they are selected during the elections. I have no hesitation in saying that leaders of various castes in the party will be identified and promoted,” said Mr. Kumaraswamy.

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