It was a surprise, says Deve Gowda’s grandson on elevation in JDS overhaul
It is true that there are problems in the Janata Dal Secular-Congress coalition but the two partners will be able to resolve them, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said on Thursday, a remark that is seen as an attempt to inspire confidence in the coalition that has been teetering after the reported exit of two Congress lawmakers.
“Let there be no doubt that there is no danger to this government. There is no question of midterm polls,” Gowda said, a response to the many darts thrown by the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa who has for some time predicted the collapse of the coalition government. “If Yeddyurappa wants this government to fall, he is free to make such comments, but coalition government will move forward with maturity,” said Deve Gowda, who had recently predicted mid-term elections and then issued a quick rebuttal.
Deve Gowda’s comments on Thursday came as he inducted new leaders to the party’s top team in an attempt to fix his house. H Vishwanath, the party’s Karnataka unit chief, and Congress leaders such as former chief minister Siddaramaiah had been hurling barbs at each other for quite some time. Vishwanath had stepped down after the party’s crushing defeat in the national elections and Deve Gowda promptly decided to accept the offer.
As Vishwanath’s successor took charge, his prime rival in the Congress Siddaramaiah, took a sharp dig at him. Siddaramaiah said Vishwanath, who was not able to handle his presidency properly for even six months, always tried to hide his weakness by questioning the strengths of others. “I have sympathy for him,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
The JDS and the Congress, which joined hands after the 2018 state elections to form the government, had contested the elections as a team but the two parties ended up with just one seat each. The opposition BJP landed up with 25 of the state’s 28 seats. Deve Gowda was among those who had lost his seat.
Since then, Deve Gowda has insisted that he will embark on a mission to revive his party in the state and make it a dominant force, akin to the regional parties in neighbouring states. To boost its credentials, Deve Gowda appointed HK Kumaraswamy as the party’s Karnataka unit boss on Thursday.
Gowda also elevated his grandson – Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil – as chief of the party’s youth wing. Nikhil Kumaraswamy had lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Mandya against BJP-backed independent candidate Sumalatha.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy insisted that he was surprised and got to hear of the upgrade just before the formal announcement.
“At 11 am today I got a call from party leaders… I didn’t expect this at all. I said a few days ago in Malavalli that if I work as a diligent party member, only then should I be given any post,” he said. Nikhil Kumaraswamy also credited his grandfather for the survival of the party that he had founded.
“If the JD(S) still survives it is because of Deve Gowda. He might have lost but I know his resolve. He is completely dedicated to rejuvenating this party. I, too, will follow in his footsteps. However, I would like to be known first as a committed JDS worker because I don’t attach much significance to posts,” he said.