MYSURU: With panchayat elections around the corner — considered the semifinals ahead of assembly elections — the stage is set for political polarisation with many prominent JDS leaders likely to join the Congress.
The Congress, keen to win as many seats as possible in the panchayat elections, and wrest power in its home turf, Old Mysuru, has started doing its homework. Siddaramaiah knows the party should win a good number of seats in this belt to draw prominent leaders into its fold, so as to weaken the JDS, that has a considerable base here.
The first big exit from the JDS could be disgruntled Chamundeshwari MLA G T Devegowda, who has maintained a distance from his party, and is reportedly set to join the Congress with his son Harish.
It is said that Opposition leader Siddaramaiah is not in favour of accommodating both Devegowda and his son in the assembly polls, and suggested that one should contest the assembly election and the other could be the candidate for Mysuru Lok Sabha seat. But Devegowda is insisting that they be given tickets from Chamundeshwari and Hunsur assembly seats, claiming they can win from both the seats.
Sources said that Devegowda has held talks with his followers on his political move and set the stage for his son and MDCC Bank president Harish Gowda’s entry into the Congress. It is said that Devegowda will not come under the anti-defection law as he has decided to remain a JDS member and will join the Congress during the election. Devegowda also wanted his followers to be accommodated in the taluk and zilla panchayat polls.
Meanwhile, a few senior JDS leaders are keen to retain G T Devegowda and have appealed to former prime minister H D Deve Gowda to hold talks with him. But Devegowda has repeatedly appealed to the JDS supremo not to visit him for a truce as he has given his word to Siddaramaiah. He is also upset with the internal bickering due to political rivalry between him and former minister Sa Ra Mahesh.
It may be recalled that then CM H D Kumaraswamy had announced a plum post for Devegowda for defeating sitting CM Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari, but he was made higher education minister, turning down his plea for the cooperation portfolio. Devegowda kept away from the Hunsur bypoll campaign, and supported the Congress candidate, and was also upset as Sa Ra Mahesh was calling the shots in the HDK cabinet.