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Karnataka Assembly polls 2018: Narendra Modi's praise for Deve Gowda might be politically motivated but his decency is admirable
When Narendra Modi during an election rally described HD Deve Gowda as the pride of Karnataka denouncing Rahul Gandhi's attempt to insult the JD(S) founder, political observers and think-tank of the Congress immediately concluded that the current Prime Minister's praise of the former PM Deve Gowda was politically motivated.

These speculations became even stronger after Deve Gowda himself said that it was Modi who had persuaded him not to resign from the Parliament in 2014. During the 2014 general election, HD Deve Gowda had promised that if the BJP gets majority he would resign. He also confessed that although he was prepared to resign, Modi persuaded him not to do so saying that the nation needed the services of senior leaders.

Further, Deve Gowda also reminded the people by asking them that who had removed him from the Prime Minister's post?' apparently making a reference to the then Congress president Rajiv Gandhi.

Another reason for such speculations is that ever since the Rajya Sabha elections relations between the Congress and the JD(S) have deteriorated. Although the Congress high command wanted to keep the JD(S) in its fold, Siddaramaiah was in no mood to relent. So not only did he poach MLAs to defeat the JD(S) candidate but also inducted many MLAs into Congress and that's why a sizable number of Vokkaliga voters are angry with Siddaramaiah. PM Modi being completely aware of this fact probably praised Deve Gowda to polarise Vokkaliga voters against the Congress particularly in a constituency where the JD(S) candidate is weak. Vokkaliga community has domination over 70-75 seats out of the total 89 constituencies of south Karnataka. Thus, if BJP can get an additional twenty seats it could achieve the majority easily.

This even the Congress understands and perhaps that's why the Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah have started referring to the JD(S) as "B team" of the BJP so as to chip away at Muslim votes of the JD(S). In defensive mode, the JD(S) has been repeatedly denying the possibility of an alliance with the BJP. HD Deve Gowda has even gone to the extent of warning his son HD Kumaraswami that in the event of a BJP-JD(S) post poll alliance, he will disown him.

Well, from the political angle the above logical inferences appear to be valid. The BJP is there to win an election and hence it has all the right to use whatever tactics possible. But then, some BJP people have batted for Narendra Modi arguing that he is following a policy of righteousness in political discourse by respecting seniors. I won't say that there wasn't a political motive behind Narendra Modi's praise for Deve Gowda but at the same time, it's also been seen that Modi is always sincere in maintaining decency and respect for senior politicians cutting across party lines. Let me give some examples.

In the 2012 Gujarat Assembly election, opposing Narendra Modi, Keshubhai Patel had quit the BJP and formed a new party called 'Gujarat Parivartan Party'. Narendra Modi won that election. During the election Narendra Modi didn't respond to any of the critical remarks made by Keshubhai Patel. However, after the election, Narendra Modi personally went to the residence of Keshubhai Patel to seek his blessings. This shows the character of Narendra Modi and the highest of regards he has for seniors. In February 2014, Keshubhai's party merged back with the BJP.

During 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election, the Shiv Sena contested independently as the alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena had ceased to exist. In the first election rally itself Narendra Modi said that he would refrain from speaking anything against Balasaheb Thackeray or his party considering his respect for Balasaheb despite Uddhav Thackeray using derogatory language and scathing remarks targetted at Narendra Modi in that assembly election, and later even unleashing condemnation at the BJP and Modi through Shiv Sena's mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

Everyone knows that BJP's veteran leader LK Advani wanted to prevent Modi from becoming the prime Minister. But Modi never uttered a single word against Advani.

Senior BJP leaders Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha have often openly criticised Narendra Modi in the past and continue to do so even today, at times even calling him a dictator but never has Narendra Modi uttered a single word against them. Had this been the scenario in the Congress or any other political party, all such dissenting voices would have been silenced long back. But Narendra Modi maintains that he is open to all kinds of criticism.

The bottom line is that in his political career since 2002, although Narendra Modi has indulged in political confrontations, he has always done so maintaining decorum especially when senior politicians are involved.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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