HD Kumaraswamy proves again he is saviour for struggling JDS

Kumaraswamy tactfully distanced Prajwal from the party by expelling him, as the Congress was looking to exploit the issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy.Photo | PTI

BENGALURU: Political analysts, who regarded former prime minister HD Deve Gowda as the Chanakya of Karnataka politics, have now termed his son and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy as the ‘messiah’ of the Janata Dal (Secular), which he has kept afloat amid upheavals. He managed to juggle between the two national parties — BJP and Congress — for almost two decades to ensure the regional outfit survives.

This time, JDS won Mandya and Kolar Lok Sabha seats, and as JDS leaders claim, the party helped alliance partner BJP win over ten seats, including Bangalore Rural where Gowda’s son-in-law Dr CN Manjunath defeated DyCM DK Shivakumar’s brother DK Suresh.

As a reward, Kumaraswamy got a cabinet berth. His entry into the Modi cabinet will boost the morale of the JDS rank and file, which was facing rough weather due to Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna’s alleged involvement in the sex scandal. Kumaraswamy tactfully distanced Prajwal from the party by expelling him, as the Congress was looking to exploit the issue.

But according to psephologists in Karnataka, Kumaraswamy’s role as party saviour dates back to 2004, when the state threw up a fractured mandate and then CM SM Krishna lost his chair. Gowda had managed to strike a deal with then AICC president Sonia Gandhi to form an alliance government with the Congress but on the condition that N Dharam Singh should be made chief minister. Krishna, also a Vokkaliga leader of Old Mysuru region with DK Shivakumar as his troubleshooter, was sent as Maharashtra governor.

Sensing a threat from the Congress, Kumaraswamy brought down the Dharam Singh government and allied with the BJP to form the government in 2006. But he did not transfer power to BJP, which was termed a betrayal and for which the JDS and Kumaraswamy had to pay a big price.

In 2013, when Congress got a thumping majority, the JDS had no role to play as alliance partner. But in 2018, Congress forced JDS into an alliance but the government was short-lived, and the government fell in 2019.

In the 2023 assembly polls, when the Congress won a landslide victory, the JDS faced an existential crisis with Congress leaders allegedly trying to poach party MLAs.

Kumaraswamy was quick to make amends and with Gowda’s blessings, again forged an alliance with the BJP as he felt Modi would become PM again.

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