Coalition government propels Deve Gowda back to national centre stage

He had confined himself to state politics after his short stint as Prime Minister.

Published: 24th May 2018 02:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2018 05:03 AM   |  A+A-

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav greets JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda as BSP leader Mayawati looks on during the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister in Bengaluru on Wednesday | Vinod Kumar T

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The coalition government in the state, led by his son H D Kumaraswamy, has propelled former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda into the national political scene yet again. The presence of national leaders, including regional satraps at Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru was a clear indication of the role Gowda could play in stitching together an anti-BJP alliance at the national level ahead of 2019 general elections.

The JD (S) supremo had mostly kept himself confined to state politics after his short stint as prime minister and many failed attempts to cobble up a third front that can take on Congress and BJP at the national level. On many occasions prior to the state assembly elections, Gowda had stated that his first priority is to bring JD(S) back to power in the state and only after that he would focus on the national politics.

Now that his party is in power and his son Kumaraswamy is CM, Gowda is likely to play more active role in national politics and that message was sent out clearly by the presence chief ministers from non-BJP ruled states and top leaders of BSP, SP and RJD, which are fighting BJP in their states. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, in his first press conference after taking over as CM, too stated that the presence of national and regional party leaders at his swearing-in ceremony sent a clear message about the political realignment at the national level before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

"Deve Gowda is a senior politician, who commands respect among regional leaders from across the country. He may play the role of a leader who will bring together regional parties opposing the BJP at the national level," said political analyst Prof Harish Ramaswamy.

Stitching together an alliance of regional parties, which are ideologically different from each other, is a herculean task. "They also do not have a leader with pan-India appeal. Unlike Congress and Rahul Gandhi, none of the parties or leaders have pan-India presence. So, they have to depend on Congress to take on BJP," he added.

However, bringing together anti-BJP parties will not automatically ensure consolidation of anti-BJP votes and that remains a big challenge. "They have failed to consolidate anti-BJP votes and that is one of the reasons why BJP has been winning elections consistently. That happened even in Karnataka elections. Congress and JD (S) could not do it and they fought bitterly against each other and even abused each other," he pointed out.

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