BENGALURU: JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda on Sunday relieved his son and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy from the post of party’s state unit chief, replacing him with Adaguru H Vishwanath, former MP. The decision to appoint Vishwanath is seen as a move to dispel criticism of it being a ‘Vokkaliga’ and ‘father-son’ party.
Vishwanath, a prominent Kuruba leader from Mysuru, had quit the Congress in 2017 before joining the JD(S). The announcement of Vishwanath’s elevation, Gowda said, was only the beginning of a revamp. The party, traditionally associated with rural voters, Vokkaliga and Muslims as core vote bank, is looking to change its perception with new measures.
“This is a message to those who called JD(S) a father-son party. Vishwanath has been chosen unanimously as the state president. Hope this decision gives B S Yeddyurappa (BJP state president), who criticises our party, an answer to whether this is a father-son party,” Gowda said.
Vishwanath quit the Congress after a continued tiff with then chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2017. Vishwanath, JD(S) hopes, will help gain some vote share in the Kuruba-dominant regions. The community to which Siddaramaiah also belongs is the only prominent Backward Class community that has a spread across the state. Vishwanath’s appointment is crucial at a time when the JD(S) is looking to break out of its ‘south-Karnataka only’ image.
“The party has given me a huge responsibility. My priorities are to spread the message of our government to the people and win as many seats as possible in the upcoming LS polls,” Vishwanath told reporters on Sunday.
‘Priority is to spread govt’s message’
Adaguru H Vishwanath’s role in discussing seat sharing for the Lok Sabha polls with the Congress will now be crucial. With Siddaramaiah heading the Coordination committee that is entrusted with the responsibility of peace-keeping between coalition partners, it is to be seen how Vishwanath’s love-hate relationship with the former will play out in the future.
“The party has given me a huge responsibility. My priorities are to spread the message of our government to the people and win as many seats as possible in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls,” Vishwanath told the media on Sunday. The JD(S) is also looking to appoint youngsters to various positions in the party. “We will give priority to youth, backward classes, minorities and people of various communities,” Gowda said adding that the party will not sideline seniors but has the need to infuse young blood into its structure. JD(S) is expected to come out with a list of new office-bearers in the next 10 days. Gowda will undertake a statewide yatra starting August 11 in the backdrop of elections to 105 urban local bodies.
In an attempt to dispel criticisms of Kumaraswamy being unfair to districts of North Karnataka in his budget, the JD(S) has planned to bring out a booklet highlighting the budget allocations to various schemes and programmes to the region. “I don’t have to respond to Yeddyurappa. I will talk to the people directly. We will bring out a booklet with information on what Siddaramaiah’s budget, as well as our budget, has to offer to the people,” Gowda said.