Budget, a telltale sign of early polls: Deve Gowda

March 2nd, 2008 - 12:39 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram
By Faraz Ahmad
New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is confident that the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for next year, will be held this year. “This is 100 percent an election budget. It is a clear indication that the elections are not far away,” Deve Gowda said in an interview to IANS.

And his confidence has only been boosted by the “pro-farmer” general budget Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented in the Lok Sabha Friday, in which he waived off Rs.600 billion of farmers’ loans and announced sharp cuts in income-tax rates.

Deve Gowda, who heads the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), is an important factor in the politics of Karnataka. His party won 58 seats in the last assembly elections in 2004. It first supported a Congress-led coalition and then withdrew support to form a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But when it came to repaying the debt and supporting a BJP-led government, Deve Gowda dithered and eventually dashed the hopes of the BJP to form its first government in southern India.

Deve Gowda is equally sure of leading his JD-S to victory in upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka. Ruling out the possibility of aligning with either the Congress party or the BJP, he said: “There is no question of any alliance at this stage.”

In an age of coalitions, Deve Gowda is happy to stand in splendid isolation.

“I am expecting a clear mandate from the people of Karnataka,” Deve Gowda said.

“People have experienced both the Congress and the BJP, and they will vote for a party which worked hard and sincerely to provide them a good and caring administration.”

Asked to choose between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the Left and Third Front parties vis-

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