Former PM HD Deve Gowda likely to re-enter parliament through Rajya Sabha
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who celebrated his 87th birthday on May 18, is likely to re-enter Parliament through the upper house when elections are held in the next few months.
Four Rajya Sabha MP’s from Karnataka are retiring on June 25 after completing their six year term. These include two from Congress – Prof M V Rajeev Gowda and B K Hariprasad while Prabhakar Kore from the BJP and D Kupendra Reddy from JDS will also retire.
Deve Gowda lost the May 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Tumkur after giving up his traditional stronghold of Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna, who is the sole party representative in the lower house of parliament. His grandson had even offered to resign to ensure that Gowda could go back to Lok Sabha in a by-election, but the offer had been rejected. Now, the Janata Dal (Secular) leader is said to be interested in going back to parliament ‘to protect Karnataka’s interests.’
A contestant from Karnataka requires 44 votes to get elected to the Rajya Sabha. Given the current composition of the Karnataka assembly, BJP can elect two Rajya Sabha MP’s and Congress one but it will have additional votes to spare. The Janata Dal currently has 34 members in the state legislative assembly and is short by 10 votes to send a RS member on its own.
JDS MLC and party spokesperson T A Saravana said, “There is an internal party consensus that the state would enormously benefit from having a senior voice like that of Deve Gowda ji in parliament. Even the country would benefit from listening to his sage advice and suggestions. While the party is insisting that he stand for polls, he is yet to take a decision.”
Saravana claimed that the additional votes required could be mopped up easily given the ‘excellent equations’ that the former PM maintains across party lines. ‘He is in good health, travels across the state and country building the party and addressing people’s issues. So the party has unanimously requested him to contest the RS polls. There is no senior leader like a Mallikarjuna Kharge, a Veerappa Moily or a K H Muniyappa in parliament today to protect Karnataka’s interests as BJP has failed to do so, that is why Gowdaji should be in the upper house.”
Congress spokesperson V S Ugrappa said any decision on supporting Gowda’s candidature for the upper house would be taken by the ‘party high command.’ However, another senior leader of the party who did not want to be identified said, “Gowda has very good equations with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. They have been on politically cordial terms even after the fall of the Congress –JDS coalition government.
So the party may not be averse to helping a secular senior leader like him get back to parliament as we need a strong opposition to counter the fascist forces ruling the country.”