Bengaluru, May 13: Claiming to be the "phoenix" that his father H D Deve Gowda had referred to, while demitting the office of the Prime Minister in 1997, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Friday kick-starting his party's poll campaign for 2023 Karnataka assembly polls, vowed to establish a government of Kannadigas in the state.

The former chief minister sought an opportunity for JD(S) to independently form a government in the state, for a full five-year term.

"...about 25-26 years ago, my father lost the Prime Minister's post and came back. Even at this age if any former Prime Minister is fighting for the cause of farmers and people of the state, it is a Kannadiga Deve Gowda, whom you nurtured," Kumaraswamy said.

Addressing a massive public meeting on the outskirts of the city, he said, "Respected (Nanjavadutha) Swamiji (who was present in the rally) pointing out that Deve Gowda had long ago stated that he would rise like a phoenix from the ashes, said that phoenix is none other thatn Kumaraswamy. Yes...I will rise like that phoenix with the blessings of God and people of the state."

With the blessings of everyone in 2023, JD(S) will establish a government of and by Kannadigas in Karnataka to solve their problems, he said, adding that "...we have taken up this challenge."

In the speech he made in Parliament before laying down office as Prime Minister on April 21, 1997, Deve Gowda had claimed that he would "rise like a phoenix from the ashes".

JD(S) patriarch and former PM Deve Gowda, state party chief C M Ibrahim, Nanjavadutha Swamiji of Spatikapuri Math, a host of party leaders and legislators were present at the rally.

The JD(S) that has set a target of winning 123 seats in the 225 member Assembly hosted a massive public meeting on the outskirts of the city to begin its campaign for the 2023 Assembly polls in the state, and to mark the conclusion of its 'Janata Jaladhare' campaign.

The Janata Jaladhare was a statewide campaign to create awareness on water rights, and convey the party's promise of using the state's rivers effectively if voted to power. It has covered about 140 assembly constituencies across the state.

'Ganga Aarti' was performed by a team that had come from Varanasi at the conclusion of the rally.

"We want the JD(S) to come to power in the state with your blessings. It is not for me to become Chief Minister once again. I have already been CM twice, but not with the complete blessings of the people of the state. It was due to certain political developments," Kumaraswamy said.

He said both times he was under pressure from coalition partners (first BJP and second Congress) and was unable to take decisions independently in the interest of the state.

Deve Gowda in his address said this rally will mark the beginning for the JD(S) to come to power in the state.

"I appeal to people to bring the regional party to power on its own strength in Karnataka...the struggle for reaching the target of 123 seats will begin from here," he said.

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Bengaluru (PTI): Senior politician Basavaraj Horatti, who recently resigned as the Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council and MLC, on Wednesday joined the BJP.

He joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi, Ministers R Ashoka, Govind Karjol, C C Patil among others.

"Basavaraj Horatti has been a member of the Legislative Council for nearly 45 years and has served as its Chairman and Minister. He is a leader with lot of experience, commands a lot of respect and has been working for the cause of teachers. After deciding to join BJP he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and resigned from his post and has officially joined the party today," Bommai said.

Speaking to reporters after welcoming the senior leader, he said, BJP is organising a huge programme in Hubballi shortly, to mark his induction into the party.

"His joining has strengthened the party. No one has the record of being an MLC for such a long time in the entire country. It has strengthened the party especially in the north Karnataka region. We will use his experience and will give him all the opportunities and respects he deserves," he added.

With this, Horatti, who has been elected as MLC seven successive times from 1980, has ended his long association with the JD(S).

He is likely to be fielded as the BJP's candidate for the upcoming MLC polls from West Teachers' constituency. Considered to be the senior-most MLC, the 76-year-old was seen as a prominent Lingayat face of the JD(S) from north Karnataka.

He had been education minister in the state, and was elected as the Chairman of the Legislative Council in February 2021.