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Another D Co? Not quite

ON HIS debut in electoral politics in 1996, H.D. Kumaraswamy had to fend off questions on how he could play a one-day international without even the experience of first-division cricket.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 01:28 IST

Gowda, sons & their politics

ON HIS debut in electoral politics in 1996, H.D. Kumaraswamy had to fend off questions on how he could play a one-day international without even the experience of first-division cricket.

The analogy -- how could he contest a parliamentary poll on debut -- continues to bother Kumaraswamy in his new avatar as commander of the JD(S)-BJP combine. For, this son of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is a first-time legislator, who has staked claim to form a new government in Karnataka. Unlike his elder brother H.D. Revanna, Kumaraswamy has never even occupied the position of a minister so far.

A decade ago, a reticent Kumaraswamy would attribute his rise to "father's blessings". That year, he entered the Lok Sabha to witness Gowda's rise to the PM's chair. This time, for obvious reasons, his father's blessings are not being counted in public — with Gowda taking a stand against his son's decision to find an ally in the BJP. But contrary to his public posture, Gowda had called on A.B. Vajpayee and other BJP leaders in Delhi this month.

“Today is the saddest day in my 50-year political career,” Gowda said when he heard his son had staked claim to form the government. As part of the strategy to demonstrate his differences with Kumaraswamy, Gowda will address a rally of party workers on January 23. But to avoid inconvenient questions, he said he’d talk to the media only on the day the Dharam Singh government faces a vote of confidence.

Apart from a letter to governor T.N. Chaturvedi he has not hinted at any disciplinary action against his son.

AIPJD chief Siddaramaiah said it was a case of blood being thicker than water. “I was suspended from the legislature party merely because I participated in a conference of the backward classes,” he said.

In the Gowda clan, Kumaraswamy has been the favorite son. In 1996, as CM, Gowda had sent word to industrialists to channel all "donations" through him and not through Revanna.

In the Congress-led coalition, Revanna was given plum portfolios while Kumaraswamy was vested with organisational responsibilities — ostensibly to groom him for the top position.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 01:28 IST