TUMAKURU: The JDS leadership, which is battling attrition in its ranks, on Monday sought to send out a strong message by introducing a new face for the Gubbi Assembly constituency ahead of the 2023 polls. Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy introduced B S Nagaraju as the party’s candidate over sitting MLA S R Srinivas at a mega rally held on Monday.
Kumaraswamy, who was busy campaigning for the Hanagal and Sindagi assembly bypolls in north Karnataka, took a break to take part in the party’s rally in the old Mysuru region which is the party’s stronghold. Party supremo HD Deve Gowda too returned from campaigning and rested at the Tumkur University (TU) guest house where he took stock of the developments in Gubbi. The duo flew back to Vijayapura by a chartered helicopter later in the evening.
While hitting out at former minister S R Srinivas, Kumaraswamy turned emotional saying some leaders, who were groomed by the party, have betrayed it and even started badmouthing the JDS. He claimed that he encouraged Srinivas when the latter stood as a rebel candidate and won against the party’s official candidate G S Shivananjappa, who was Deve Gowda’s choice, in 2004.
“Overlooking former minister late B Satyanarayana’s seniority, I inducted Srinivas into the cabinet in the JDS-Congress alliance government,” he claimed. He also alleged that Srinivas had joined hands with rebel Congress leader K N Rajanna to defeat Deve Gowda in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“If not for the blessings of my parents I would have died during my trip to Israel. Ignoring my health problems, I travelled across the state to organise the party and Deve Gowda has also been working hard even at his age”, he remarked and broke down.
Meanwhile, Gowda hinted that the JDS may close its doors on Srinivas. “Soon after my defeat in the LS polls from Tumakuru, I tried to meet Srinivas, but in vain as he did not let me visit his house. He used to be the last-bencher in party meetings and would never speak up,” he remarked.