H D Kumaraswamy
Kumaraswamy has kept both his party workers and BJP state leadership guessing about his next move, which will change political dynamics in Karnataka. File photo

Karnataka: Ahead of NDA meet, buzz over Kumaraswamy striking deal with BJP

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With only a couple of days left for the crucial NDA meet to be held at New Delhi, political circles are abuzz about Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy visiting the national capital to participate in the meet. It is significant that the BJP has extended NDA meet invites to both current and the new allies.

Following recent indications by JD(S), especially from the party’s leader in Legislative Assembly Kumaraswamy, political circles are keenly waiting to know his mind on joining hands with the BJP to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. According to BJP sources, the party high command is keen to strike an alliance with JD(S). However, Kumaraswamy kept both his party workers and BJP state leadership guessing about his next move, which will change political dynamics in Karnataka.

Also read: Karnataka: Bommai hints at alliance talks with JD(S) ahead of 2024 LS polls

No invitation yet

Speaking to The Federal, Kumaraswamy said, “I have not received an invite from the BJP leaders for the NDA meet scheduled to be held on Tuesday.”

Admitting that both the Congress and the BJP leaders in Karnataka are keenly watching whether he would attend the NDA meet, Kumaraswamy asked, “How can the media expect me to travel to New Delhi to participate in the NDA meet without receiving an official invitation.” He added: “I am aware of the discussion in public sphere, on the possibility of JD(S) joining the NDA.”

‘Will decide on getting invite’

When asked whether he will attend the meeting on getting an official invitation from BJP, Kumaraswamy said, “Even if JD(S) gets an official invite at the last minute, I will take the final call after consulting party’s national president HD Deve Gowda”.

On whether he had received at least an unofficial invitation from BJP leadership to know his intention before extending an official invitation, Kumaraswamy clarified that he hasn’t received even an unofficial invitation so far.

Sources said that Deve Gowda authorised Kumaraswamy to take any decision to save the party following the dismal performance of JD (S) in the recently concluded assembly polls. Sources said the BJP is pushing for the merger of JD(S), but Kumaraswamy is not prepared.

Offers made by BJP

BJP’s national leadership dangled the carrot of making Kumaraswamy the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, if he agrees for merger. There was also an offer to give him a cabinet berth and Lok Sabha ticket to whoever he refers to from his party. Kumaraswamy is in no mood to accept the offer. “We don’t know what exactly is in the mind of Kumaraswamy,” said a senior BJP leader.

Also read: JD(S)’ Kumaraswamy warms up to BJP, calls Karnataka Cong govt ‘looters’

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje told media persons that the BJP is ready to take support of any political party including JD(S), as their aim is to bring Narendra Modi-led BJP to power at the Centre again in 2024.

The reason for political speculation over BJP striking alliance with JD(S) for the coming Lok Sabha polls is his argument in the ongoing Legislative Assembly session. In a verbal fight with the Congress leaders, Kumaraswamy criticised Congress for dubbing JD(S) as “B” team of BJP and regretted that “Congress is pushing JD(S) towards BJP”. This debate raised curiosity in political circles about his next political move.

No conditions for alliance

When asked, whether he had laid down any condition for forging an alliance during unofficial meetings with BJP leaders, Kumaraswamy denied having any unofficial meeting with any of the BJP’s top brass. He said, “There is no question of having talks with riders, as I don’t have any urgency to talk with BJP leaders and the question of laying down conditions doesn’t arise”.

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