Staying in NDA depends on how BJP treats us, says Kumaraswamy; hopes to be agriculture minister

In an interview, NDA’s candidate in Mandya, HD Kumaraswamy, said BJP and not Congress was a ‘natural ally‘ for his party, JDS.


Published Apr 05, 2024 | 5:19 PMUpdatedApr 05, 2024 | 5:19 PM

HD Kumaraswamy

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said on Friday, 5 April, that he is sincerely working for NDA’s better prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

He added that the continuation of the alliance with BJP, after the parliamentary elections, will depend on how his party and its leaders are treated.

The former chief minister further said that given an opportunity and if Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confidence in him, he wants to be the agriculture minister, in the event of NDA coming back to power at the Centre.

In an exclusive interview with PTI, after filing his nomination from Mandya on Thursday, the state JD(S) president said: “We being part of the NDA depends on how our party leaders are treated in the future. We are sincerely working and we want a long-standing relationship with BJP. But ultimately we will take a decision depending on how we are treated and how much respect we get from the BJP.”

JD(S) headed by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda joined the BJP-led NDA in September last year.

As part of the seat-sharing agreement, the BJP would contest in 25 constituencies and the JD(S) in the remaining three — Mandya, Hassan and Kolar — in Karnataka.

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Expresses desire to the Union agriculture minister

Kumaraswamy, son of Gowda, made no secret of his desire to become Union agriculture minister.

“It is not only the aspirations of the people of Mandya to see me as Union minister, even my BJP friends feel that it will be good for the state if I become a minister. I come from an agricultural background and given an opportunity I want to be the agriculture minister and bring a good name to the government. If the Prime Minister believes that I can do good work and if I am given an opportunity I want to work in the agricultural sector,” he said.

The JD(S) leader, who is an MLA from Channapatna in the neighbouring Ramanagara district, said he was under a lot of pressure from the people of Mandya to contest from there.

“We have entered into an alliance with BJP to fight for better prospects for Karnataka and not for political survival. It is going to be mutually beneficial for both the BJP and JD(S). The Congress took advantage of the vote-split between us in the last (Assembly) election, we realised the mistake and we have decided to fight the Congress together,” he said.

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‘Natural ally of JD(S)’

Stating that it is the BJP that is the “natural ally” of JD(S) and not the Congress, Kumaraswamy said his party has always fought the grand old party for the last 50 years.

“Our last alliance with BJP (for 20 months from January 2006), when I was the chief minister was a good period and because of some misunderstanding and some misdeeds of miscreants we had to part ways,” he said, adding that leaders of parties and cadres are now sincerely working for each other.

“This time around there is a lot of positivity, energy and synergy between us. Be it (BS) Yediyurappa (BJP veteran) or Deve Gowda (JD(S) patriarch) or be it any of us? We all are working for each other to see to it that the NDA alliance gets all the 28 seats in Karnataka,” he added.

Kumaraswamy also said the Congress in Karnataka had messed up the state’s finances because of its guarantee schemes and the government doesn’t have any funds for capital expenditure or development.

“Having mismanaged the finances now they are pointing fingers at the Centre over the discrepancy in a refund of GST and other grants,’’ he alleged.

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