Bengaluru: Seeking to explain why he was back in the election arena despite announcing years ago that he wouldn’t do so, former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda said the circumstances forced his hand.

In an interview with ANI, Gowda said, “I announced three years back that I will not contest polls. There are circumstances now in which I have been forced to contest. I have no ambition for anything but what I always said I am not going to retire from active politics.”

While that may be so with the JD(S) chief having no such ambition, he is contesting from Karnataka’s Tumkur parliamentary constituency, he went on to clarify that he wasn’t ever going to retire from politics. Asked if he would retire from active politics like BJP’s L K Advani, Gowda said, “I want to save my party first and last the office building.”

On his son and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s statement that there was a possibility of him becoming the Prime Minister as a consensus candidate, Gowda said, “I am not bothered about this. My concern is Modi will come to Parliament. I have got the guts and conviction to tell it to the face of the PM. I have the courage.”

“If Rahul Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister, I will sit by his side. It is not necessary to become the Prime Minister,” he added. Speaking about his commitment to the Congress, he said, “Madam Sonia Gandhi has taken the decision to support Deve Gowda even though we are a small party. Now it is my responsibility to move forward with Congress, though I do agree in some states there is no question of any coalition. But in Tamil Nadu, there is a coalition between Congress and DMK and with Sharad Pawar’s party in Maharashtra.”

Responding to accusations of saving the family rather than the party, the JD(S) chief said, “Several leaders who worked with me
collectively, have left. Some people are in Congress, some in BJP. I was able to keep the party intact but suffered. I have not allowed
my family members to become president of the party.”