Bengaluru(PTI): JDS Supremo H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday said he could not tell which party was communal and which was not, as he did not sound very optimistic about the ongoing efforts to forge an anti-BJP front nationally, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The former PM sought to know if there was a single party in the country that has had no association with the BJP, either directly or indirectly.

"I can analyse in detail about this country's politics, what is the use? Show me one party which has not associated with the BJP, either directly or indirectly. Show me one party in the whole country, then I will answer," Gowda said in response to a question about Bihar CM Nitish Kumar trying to forge an anti BJP front at the national level.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, "Some Congress leaders may say -- but, had they not gone to Karunanidhi (of DMK), who supported BJP for six years, whether directly or indirectly.... that's why I don't want to discuss the political atmosphere prevailing in this country, there is no need, I have seen it as PM, CM, as MP...what happened in Maharashtra? I can quote several incidents."

Declining to comment on a query about leading or joining a front against BJP on the request of like minded parties, Gowda said, "who is communal, who is not communal, I don't know. First of all, the definition of communal and non communal -- it can be enlarged, then the scope is much..."

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had called a meeting of opposition parties in Patna on June 12. The event has now been postponed.

Amid reports in a section of media that JD(S) would enter into an alliance with the BJP to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the party veteran said he and his party would not pay attention to such things.

"Regarding the Parliament election, there are a variety of things, we are not going to pay attention to it. Our party, our strength -- our karyakartas are our strength -- by unifying and encouraging them, we will have to work towards strengthening the regional party, save it and move ahead."

Pointing to the presence of strong regional parties in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, he said, "In that direction we will have to strive towards strengthening and nurturing the JD(S) by giving more strength to youth."

He also said that he had advised the constitution of a "high level" committee with representation from all communities for strengthening the party.

Asked if he would once again contest Lok Sabha polls, Gowda said, he is 91-year-old now and that question does not arise.

"How many candidates will be fielded for MP elections and from where, all those things will be decided later. The priority is to identify our strengths in zilla, taluk and corporation polls. After that we will look at Parliament polls, we will contest wherever we can based on our strength. We had a tie up with RSP and communist party, our leaders will decide in this regard," he added

Gowda said he has called a meeting of party leaders to discuss the party's performance in the recently held Assembly polls, organising, strengthening the party and restructuring of taluk and district units wherever necessary ahead of the upcoming zilla, taluk and corporation polls; and preparation for 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

"I don't want to speak about Congress or BJP or the promises they made and about their implementation. What is before us is the upcoming elections....we will not sit quietly, I'm 91 and I'm also ready to work with you. I call on all party leaders, especially youths, to work towards building the party and prepare for the polls," he said.

JD(S) has to start preparing for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) polls, and the party has to identify candidates in the places where we were not fielding, he said, "I'm ready to travel wherever the party asks me to go for organizing and building the party , there is no question of me sitting idle."

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Mangaluru: Lorry owners responsible for transporting goods from the New Mangalore Port have declared their intention to initiate a strike beginning on Friday, September 29. Their demands include an increase in lorry rental rates, among other requests.

Efforts to mediate between the lorry owners' association and transporters were led by senior police officers during a conciliatory meeting held at the Panambur ACP's office on Wednesday. However, these efforts failed to bridge the gap between the two parties, leading the lorry owners to confirm their plans for a protest starting on Friday.

Sushanth Shetty, the President of the lorry owners' association, expressed their dissatisfaction, stating, "The rent for the lorries has not been hiked as we had demanded. A hike of Rs 100 a ton from the current rental rate does not suffice. We will, therefore, hold a protest for an indefinite period, till our demands are met."