Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief Deve Gowda took over as the leader of the JD(S) parliamentary party, axing veteran MP Veeredra Kumar as the war within the party intensified over the coalition with the BJP.
Gowda struck at Kumar for having campaigned for his arch rival, Siddaramaiah in the recent by-poll for the Chamundeswari assembly seat in Karnataka.
Siddaramaiah, who broke away from the JD(S) to join the Congress, won the seat by 257 in one of the keenly fought elections for Gowda and his son, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
Kumar has been opposing Gowda's decision to allow his son to become Chief Minister with the help of the BJP. Gowda suspended Kumar, who is a Lok Sabha member, from the primary membership of the JD(S).
An unfased Kumar claimed that the real party was with him and his suspension from the primary membership was on 'expected lines.'
"I am not surprised by the move. The National Executive has been convened on December 22 in Thiruvananthapuram and we would suspend Deve Gowda from the party and he would be dethroned from the Presidentship."
Two weeks ago, Kumar and two other leaders Surendra Mohan and PGR Sindhia, MLA, had attacked Gowda for his support to his son and asked the party colleagues to take the "logical decision" of expelling Gowda.
Gowda has called a meeting of the JD(S) national executive Delhi on December 25 for expelling Kumar, party sources said.