Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that he would have remained the Chief Minister for the full term of five years if he had allied with the BJP in 2018. Kumaraswamy said that he "fell into the Congress' trap", which allegedly aimed at destroying his reputation when he allied with the party in 2018 to form a government.
Speaking to the media in Mysuru at a press conference, Kumaraswamy said that the Congress destroyed the reputation he had maintained over the span of 12 years in just a few months. "When I stepped down as the Chief Minister due to a power struggle with the BJP in 2006, I still had a following and the support of people. After allying with the Congress in 2018, Siddaramaiah and his gang destroyed my reputation. I walked into their trap only because I agreed to the alliance because of Deve Gowda (his father). This betrayal hurt my reputation more than happened with the BJP in 2006," Kumaraswamy alleged.
He maintained that his father, the former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, was one of the few politicians, who still stuck to his secular beliefs, due to which he did not want the JD(S) to ally with the BJP. "Only because I did not want to hurt my father in his old age, I allied with Congress. In the 18 months I was the CM, I allocated Rs 19,000 crore to constituencies of Congress MLAs. But what happened? Siddaramaiah and his gang did everything to destroy my reputation," Kumaraswamy alleged.
He went on to say that many political leaders in Karnataka have become strong and powerful because the JD(S) had provided them a political platform. "Our family is cursed that way. Whenever we allowed someone to grow, they stabbed us in the back. But I remain undeterred. I am waiting for the right time. I already have a plan to make JD(S) stronger in Karnataka, from the grassroots level," Kumaraswamy added.
Kumaraswamy, however, refuted questions on whether he holds a "soft corner" for the BJP. Over the last few months, Kumaraswamy and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa have met several times privately, which had set off speculation that the two leaders, who had become arch rivals after 2006, had rekindled their friendship for political reasons. When the BJP-JD(S) government came to power in 2004, Kumaraswamy and Yediyurappa had agreed to hold the CM post for 20 months each. When Kumaraswamy reneged on his promise, the alliance was in jeopardy. Finally, Kumaraswamy broke the alliance and the government collapsed in 2008.
After the 2018 Assembly Elections delivered a split verdict, the Congress and JD(S) joined hands. This after both Kumaraswamy and his father HD Deve Gowda had openly said that their party would "never again" ally with the BJP. At the time, Kumaraswamy had recounted the 'betrayal" he had suffered. "The BJP destroyed my reputation in 2006 and I will not ally with them," Kumaraswamy had said.
The Congress-JD(S) government collapsed in 2019 following the defection of 46 MLAs to the BJP.