BENGALURU: Will ‘Siddaramaiah admirer’ Purvaj Vishwanath, son of BJP MLC Adagur Vishwanath, joining Congress bring a healing touch to the strained relationship between the two big Kuruba leaders, Siddaramaiah and Vishwanath?
The two leaders, who were on good terms earlier, fell out over some differences. Vishwanath, who was in Congress, went on to join JDS and then shifted to BJP. Though both are of the same age, Vishwanath got an early start, becoming an MLA in 1978 after he was handpicked by then chief minister Devaraj Urs.
It was only five years later that Siddramaiah got his big break and won the Assembly election as an independent in 1983. He later joined Janata Parivar and endeared himself to then chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde of Janata Party. Vishwanath served as a cabinet minister in the eighties and also during the SM Krishna government between 1999 and 2004. Siddaramaiah’s chance at ministerial post came in 1996 when JH Patel replaced HD Deve Gowda as chief minister as Gowda had gone on to become the Prime Minister. Though Vishwanath and Sidddaramaiah were poles apart politically, they maintained their friendship.
When Siddaramaiah was expelled from JDS, he joined Congress and suddenly the two Kuruba biggies found themselves on the same side. In 2013, Siddaramaiah became a CM and Vishwanath was MP. Thereafter, Vishwanath lost the parliamentary polls and moved to JDS, which helped him get elected from Hunsur. He, along with leaders from JDS and Congress, joined BJP in 2019, bringing down the Congress-JDS coalition government. His Kuruba pride was hurt when Siddaramaiah campaigned against him during the Hunsur bypoll, which he lost.
Purvaj said, “I admire Siddaramaiah and had gone to Davanagere to participate in his 75th birthday celebration. I wish some elders from the community sort out issues between the two leaders. Because when elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.’’
Asked if he is a ticket aspirant for Hunsur, which is his father’s constituency, Purvaj said he is not seeking any ticket and is joining Congress unconditionally. “I remember that as a little child, I ran around with grownups when they tied Congress banners. My heart is with the Congress,” he added.