HD Kumaraswamy, the ‘kingmaker’ who is now Karnataka’s chief minister
Haradanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy began on Wednesday his second stint as the chief minister of Karnataka. He had earlier served as the chief minister from 2006 to 2008.Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 23, 2018 18:59 IST
In the run up to Karnataka elections, JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy famously said, “I will be the king, not the kingmaker.”
In the fractured verdict that the Karnataka elections threw up, his party ended up with just 37 seats and analysts felt his ambition to be the ‘king’ may not be achieved, But, then the Congress, with its 78 seats, moved swiftly and offered support.
The next few days were a roller-coaster of midnight court hearings, MLA poaching rumours, resort visits and the trust vote drama in the state assembly. As BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa failed to muster numbers to stay in power, Kumaraswamy moved in.
On Wednesday, Haradanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy, 59, began his second stint as the chief minister of Karnataka. He had earlier served as the chief minister from 2006 to 2008.
Born on December 16, 1959 in Haradanahalli, Kumaraswamy’s primary education was in a government school in Hassan District. He later shifted to Bengaluru for higher studies.
Kumaraswamy the third son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, was initially not interested in politics. He was into film-making and distribution and produced several successful Kannada films.
Kumaraswamy, who grew up in a political environment, entered electoral politics by contesting the Kanakapura Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and won. He subsequently lost both parliamentary and assembly elections.
He got elected to the assembly for the first time in 2004, when the JD(S) joined the coalition government headed by Congress’s Dharm Singh after the elections threw up a hung House.
After the hung Assembly in the 2004 elections, the Congress and JD-S decided to come together and form a government under the Congress leader Dharam Singh.
But this alliance did not last long. After 20 months of an uneasy marriage, JD-S withdrew support to form a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In 2006, he rebelled and walked out of the coalition with 42 MLAs against the wish of his father, citing threat to the party, and formed the government with the BJP, becoming the chief minister during his very first term as MLA.
Kumaraswamy became the chief minister for half the term. BS Yediyurappa became the deputy chief minister. That government too collapsed as Kumaraswamy failed to honour his power-sharing agreement.
In the election that followed in 2008, the BJP formed its government in Karnataka, its first south of the Vindhyas.
Kumaraswamy’s outreach to rural folk with ‘gram vastavya’ project under which he stayed in villages to understand their problems earned him popularity, but he also faced corruption taint in an alleged mining scam.
As Kumaraswamy begins his second innings as chief minister, experts are already talking about the fault lines between the coalition partners – JD(S) and Congress.
(With PTI inputs)