BENGALURU: Former minister and JDS senior leader GT Devegowda on Wednesday met Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar. Deeming the visit a ‘courtesy call’, the JDS MLA from Chamundreshwari, who defeated Siddaramaiah on his home turf, said he was checking on Shivakumar’s wellbeing following CBI raids and his bout of Covid-19.
Congress sources, however, said that Gowda’s frequent meetings with Shivakumar are to do with his son Harish Gowda’s political future, keeping the next assembly election in mind. Harish had landed in a controversy in the JDS after he was seen backing BJP’s candidate H Vishwanath in Hunsur bypolls in 2019.
After weighing the options and results in Hunsur bypoll, Gowda is said to be talking to Shivakumar to accommodate his son in the Congress and to groom him to become the next line of leaders from the Mysuru region.
Though speculation is rife that Devegowda himself will jump ship to Congress, he denied it. “Earlier, it was speculated that I would join the BJP, but my heart wouldn’t allow it. I, along with many JDS leaders, worked hard to make H D Kumaraswamy the Chief Minister. How could I join the party that toppled his government,” Gowda asked.
The visit to Shivakumar’s residence was only a matter of courtesy, given the history the leaders share, he said. Gowda had accompanied Shivakumar to Mumbai in 2019 to woo rebel MLAs of the coalition government, who were holed up in a hotel. “Elections are far away,” said Gowda when asked if the meeting was to propel his son’s political future in the Congress. The meeting comes at a time when many JDS leaders are joining the Congress ahead of the Rajarajeshwarinagar and Sira bypolls.