Bengaluru: Amid rumours of an alliance between the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, former Prime Minister and senior JD-S chief H.D. Deve Gowda on Wednesday lauded the efforts of Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw following the June 2 Odisha train tragedy in which at least 288 lives were lost. "Ashwini Vaishnaw has worked tirelessly and drawn appreciation," Deve Gowda said at a time when the opposition is demanding Vaishnaw's resignation over the horrific incident.
The timing of Deve Gowda's statement is seen as the JD-S developing proximity with the BJP.
"Vaishnaw has taken all possible measures to deal with the huge losses and damages incurred in the train tragedy. The minister is working at his full capacity and demanding resignation at this phase is not tenable," Deve Gowda stated. Deve Gowda on Tuesday said that it is an open secret that many Congress leaders in the states, including Karna-taka, have joined hands with the BJP for their selfish goals.
He said this while answering questions about a possible alliance of his party with the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and if he would take the lead if like-minded parties came together to form a front against the BJP.
Deve Gowda was also questioned whether he would support the efforts of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to form a front against the BJP. Responding to the questions, Deve Gowda told the media that he will answer this question if you (referring to the reporters) are able to show one party which has pursued politics without joining hands with BJP.
"Various parties in different states have a direct or an indirect understanding with the BJP. Many leaders of Congress are hand in glove with the BJP. We can see the trend in Karnataka. There is nothing to hide in this matter," he said.
The statements are seen as a setback for the opposition Congress and other political parties who are trying to form a front against the BJP.
Sources, both in JD-S and BJP confirmed that nothing could be ruled out at this stage. Since Congress is growing stronger in Karnataka, the situation might compel both parties to forge an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections. According to a source, "if not for a direct alliance, both parties would face elections with an understanding to defeat the Congress".