Deve Gowda made an appeal to the party workers to work towards making the JDS strong (File)
Faced with criticism of reducing JD(S) to a family enterprise, former prime minister and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda on Sunday said the notion was wrong as the party helped many grow including ex-chief minister and Congress strongman Siddaramaiah.
Blowing a bugle for the upcoming Lok Sabha election from his constituency and JD(S) stronghold of Hassan district, HD Deve Gowda said, "Our critics often say JD(S) is the political party of Deve Gowda's family. Have a look at these facts as well."
"We have made AH Vishwanath state president. Prior to that, I went to Krishnappa's house (asking him) to join our party and observed fast for it. It (JD-S) is not Deve Gowda family. Didn't we give prominent positions to Siddaramaiah, CM Ibrahim, Merajuddin Patel?"
HD Deve Gowda said that an impression has been created that the JD(S) belonged to the Deve Gowda family as his son HD Kumaraswamy was made the chief minister. He clarified that the ''pressure'' to make his son chief minister came from the Congress and he could not help but bow to the wish.
"There was a big news that it was a father-son enterprise. Is it so easy to convince all the 37 MLAs to make him (Kumaraswamy) chief minister? They (Congress) came from Delhi and insisted me to give my approval. An hour-long discussion ensued because I did not agree for it. Finally they forced me to accept it ," the former prime minister said.
Making an appeal to the party workers to work towards making the JD(S) strong, HD Deve Gowda asked them to ponder over the future of the party if it is not in power.
"Please don't take it otherwise. There is no need to believe that we can resort to anything for power. How to save this party? Today, we have a coalition government but what will happen tomorrow," HD Deve Gowda.
The event also witnessed JD(S) leaders attacking their coalition partner in the government, the Congress. The two parties have agreed to fight to the upcoming Lok Sabha election together.
However, the two parties have not yet reached a consensus over sharing of seats. Instances of bickering often come to fore between the alliance partners as was seen at Hassan on Sunday.
In an angry rebuttal to Congress, Arakalgud MLA AT Ramaswamy said the JD(S) was ready to sit in the opposition rather than tolerating the "arrogant" behaviour of Congress.
"The arrogant statement that 'we are twice your size and you have to listen to us'' must go. I would like to say it absolute clearly that if this arrogance damages the interests of farmers and poor people, we will not think twice to sit in the opposition," said Mr Ramaswamy.
The JD(S) MLA warned the Congress that the party was under no pressure to run the administration by appeasing it.
He urged the party workers to gear up to see a Kannadiga unfurling the tri-colour from the Red Fort as had happened in 1998 when Deve Gowda became the prime minister.
Deve Gowda's grandson Prajwal Revanna was present on the dais.