‘People recognise Kumaraswamy Kumaraswamy as only leader’
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Is leadership a settled issue in your party?
There is no leadership issue in the JD(S), which is now gearing up due to the hard work done by Kumaraswamy for the last two years. An atmosphere has been created that Kumaraswamy is the only leader, but it was recognised by the people, and not projected by me, because of his intense tours and good work during 20 months as chief minister in a so-called coalition with the BJP.
What about the Congress?
The Congress remained quiet while Kumaraswamy raised the issue of corruption against the BJP government. On the floor of the House, they never raised any issue of corruption against Yeddyurappa or any other minister. When the governor recommended President's rule, the Congress high command turned it down. There were clear indications that they wanted to keep the government alive until the BJP broke. They also wanted sympathy from the Lingayats by conveying, "Look, we have not attacked Yeddyurappa". At the same time, they were enjoying the fight between Yeddyurappa and his party. I don't know how far this design will yield results.
Do you see the JD(S) as kingmaker?
We are getting a good response in the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions and hope to get substantial seats from there. This is because I had done a lot of work for them as irrigation minister, chief minister, and prime minister. Then, we should be getting around 70 seats in our stronghold of Old Mysore region. Overall, we hope to get a working majority.
And if you fall short, who would you prefer to go with, Congress or BJP?
I am not thinking on those lines for the time being. The picture is still not clear; every day, it changes. I don't know how many seats they will get in a multi-cornered contest that may see candidates scraping through by 100-200 votes. As for leadership in the BJP... they had been fighting for over 10 years but I don't want to dig deep into their affairs.