BENGALURU: While the Congress and BJP are pulling out all stops to taste victory in the 2018 assembly polls, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda says the JD(S) cannot be dismissed and that it is very much in the reckoning. "I am a hardman in politics and I am still alive," Gowda told TOI in an interview. Excerpts.
How is the JD(S) preparing to gain visibility, considering the country's political landscape has changed post UP polls and the next big election will be in Karnataka?
We are preparing for the 2018 assembly polls. Mine is a regional party and I have to fight both the BJP and the Congress. We have seen how the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combo scored a mega victory in UP and literally destroyed Mayawati's and Mulayam Singh Yadav's parties there. They will try to finish us here as Karnataka is very important to them. I am alert and I am alive. Modi is very good with his rhetoric and the BJP national president (Shah) might have plans to destablize us, but I am a hardman in politics and I understand evil designs.
While the Congress hopes to return to power in Karnataka ,the BJP is on a mission to get 150 seats. How many seats is the JD(S) looking at?
We are looking at winning 18 seats in Mumbai-Karnatak region, 20-22 seats in the Hyderabad-Karnatak region, around 60 seats in Old Mysuru region, five seats in the coastal area and about 12 seats in Bengaluru.
Won't your calculation of winning seats appear absurd to the opposition parties?
Why only the opposition, I know even you will be laughing at me for saying this. I have got used to this. In 2004, a top poll anchor dismissed us, but we went on to form the government. We have gone through difficult times, our party office was snatched and we were thrown on the road. I have not looted or betrayed the nation. God will reward me at the fag end of my life.
What are the challenges for the JD(S)?
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