Deve Gowda likely to return to Parliament as Rajya Sabha MP
In the May 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gowda left his traditional stronghold of Hassan — from where he was elected five times between 1991 and 2014 — to his grandson Prajwal Revanna, and contested from the Tumkuru Lok Sabha seat.Updated: Jan 12, 2020 05:59 IST
Janta Dal (Secular) leader and former prime minister, HD Deve Gowda, could return to Parliament as a member of the Rajya Sabha, according to senior functionaries familiar with the matter.
In the May 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gowda left his traditional stronghold of Hassan — from where he was elected five times between 1991 and 2014 — to his grandson Prajwal Revanna, and contested from the Tumkuru Lok Sabha seat.
While Revanna won, Gowda lost to GS Basvraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party by about 13,000 votes. The BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls in the state, winning 25 of the 28 seats and one independent backed by the party also won. The Congress and the JD(S) were reduced to a seat each.
Four Rajya Sabha seats from the state will fall vacant this June — when Rajeev Gowda and BK Hari Prasad of Congress, Prabhakar Kore of the BJP and D Kupendra Reddy of JD(S) retire — there is an opportunity for Gowda to re-enter Parliament. The composition of the state assembly is such that the BJP has 117 seats, apart from backing of two independents, the Congress has 68 seats, and JD(S) has 34. The other two seats are with the Bahujan Samaj Party and a nominated member each.
In the indirect Rajya Sabha elections, each candidate would require the support of 44 MLAs, which means BJP can get two members into the Upper House comfortably, while Congress can elect one member. The JD(S) is short of 10 MLAs to directly elect a member from its party.
Speaking at the JD(S) national executive meeting recently, party spokesperson Tanveer Ahmed Ullah said JD(S) national executive has requested the former PM to contest the polls.
“Getting the additional votes will not be a challenge with him as our candidate. Everybody across the political spectrum respects Deve Gowda ji. Karnataka needs a strong voice at Centre,” Ullah said.
Another JD(S) leader, who did not want to be named, said Gowda is reluctant to contest, but the party and the state need his voice to be heard in Parliament to “protect the interests of Karnataka”.
Apart from its outgoing RS members, Congress is considering the names of Mallikarjuna Kharge, KH Muniyappa and Muddda Hanume Gowda for the lone seat it is assured of winning, said a Congress leader.
“It’s too early to talk about it. The party high command will take a call on who our candidate will be or what we will do with our votes. Deve Gowda has good relations with our high command. We may not be averse to supporting him,” he added.
Political analyst Manjunath said the state would do well to have a powerful voice at the Centre. “Gowda, being a former PM and his cross-party network, would be an asset in protecting the state’s interests. All this if he manages to convince the Congress to back him and gets elected to the RS, which is a clear possibility,” he said.