National leaders want me back in Parliament: Deve Gowda
Bengaluru: Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said on Tuesday that he filed his nomination for the June 19 Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka in response to a collective call from national leaders to be back in the Parliament.
“Though I was not personally interested to contest, national leaders from Congress President Sonia Gandhi, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, TMC and Left parties want me back in Parliament,” he told reporters here.
Gowda, 87, filed his nomination in the Vidhana Soudha, submitting the papers to Assembly Secretary and Returning Officer M.K. Vishalakshi, a party official told IANS.
Gowda’s second son and former minister H.D. Revanna and third son and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy were present on the occasion.
“Our party’s all 34 legislators also urged me to contest as my presence is necessary in Parliament at a time when the country was grappling with multiple crises in the aftermath of coronavirus,” said Gowda.
Claiming that there was no pressure from his two sons as they are more concerned with his health, Gowda said he was touched by the requests of the national leaders, especially Gandhi who personally called him and asked him to contest as the country needed his presence in Parliament.
Gowda agreed to contest in the bypoll as his party’s candidate after the Congress state unit assured him of its support with its surplus votes, as the JD-S with 34 legislators is short of 10 votes of the required 44 votes.
It will be second time Gowda will enter the Rajya Sabha, 24 years after he was its member as the Prime Minster from June 1996 to April 1997 of the United Front government.
“Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal informed Kumaraswamy on June 6 that the party was fielding only its senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge from Karnataka and had surplus votes to ensure my victory as our party is 10 votes short of the required 44 votes to win,” Gowda said.
Kharge filed his nomination on Monday.
Party’s outgoing member Kupendra Reddy, whose 6-year term ends on June 25, told Gowda that he was not interested for a second term as he did not get enough time in the upper house to raise issues.
“As our party does not have numbers in Parliament to get more time allotted to raise issues and participate in debates, Reddy wanted me to be in the Rajya Sabha in his place so that I could serve the nation better,” Gowda said.
Gowda lost in the May 2019 general elections from Tumkur to G.S. Basvaraj of the BJP.
With the term of the four members — Congress’ B.K. Hariprasad and Rajeev Gowda, BJP’s Prabhakar Kore and JD-S’s Reddy ending on June 25, the Election Commission notified the poll on June 1.
According to the poll panel, the nominations will be scrutinised on Wednesday and last date for withdrawal by candidates is June 12. Polling and vote count is on June 19.
From the ruling BJP, its grassroot cadres Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti filed their nominations after Gowda.
By fielding Gowda for the fourth seat, the Congress and JD-S, who had post-poll and pre-poll alliances for the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections in May 2019 and May 2018, queered the pitch for the BJP, denying it the chance to win a third seat.