Deve Gowda to take back seat to save JD-S


Bangalore : Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) president H.D. Deve Gowda is planning to don an advisory role and hand over the party leadership to his son H.D. Kumaraswamy as many in the party are upset over his move to topple a coalition government in Karnataka this week.

Support TwoCircles

“Kumaraswamy will lead the party under the guidance of Deve Gowda and the plan will be firmed up in a week’s time,” JD-S spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta told reporters in Bangalore Wednesday.

The latest Deve Gowda plan follows widespread resentment in the JD-S over his move to pull down the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ministry Monday after promising unconditional support to its formation.

Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy had gone back to the BJP with unconditional support offer Oct 27, three weeks after refusing to hand over power to it as per the agreement reached 21 months back.

Under the agreement, Kumaraswamy was to give up chief minister’s post in favour of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa. But he refused to make way Oct 3 when his 20-month term expired and the BJP pulled out of the alliance.

Kumaraswamy resigned Oct 8 and the next day the state was brought under the president’s rule and the assembly kept under suspended animation.

Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy going back to the BJP was intended to prevent a possible split in the party as senior party leader M.P. Prakash had initiated talks with the Congress to form an alternative government. A majority of the 51 JD-S legislators was opposed to early polls to the assembly.

Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister Nov 12 and was to prove his majority in the 225-member assembly Nov 19.

However, just two hours before the assembly session was to begin, Deve Gowda forced his party legislators to agree to vote against the confidence motion, giving them an indication that he had opened communication with the Congress for a possible tie-up to form an alternative government.

Deve Gowda went off to Delhi and JD-S legislators believed that an alternative formation will be in place and the polls will be avoided.

Yeddyurappa resigned Monday evening and Governor Rameshwar Thakur recommended a return to the president’s rule.

The Congress, ditched by Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy 21 months back when the coalition government headed by Dharam Singh was brought down, played safe and the centre decided Tuesday to approach parliament, seeking its approval to dissolve the assembly.

The JD-S legislators felt that the father-son duo had taken not only the BJP for a ride but themselves too. They met in separate groups to chalk out future plans and lambasted Kumaraswamy when he urged them to calm down Tuesday evening.

He even floated the idea of forming a party of his own, but none of the JD-S legislators was willing to buy it, and told him “Enough, no more games please,” as one legislator put it.

The JD-S spokesperson moved quickly to minimize further damage to the already eroded credibility of Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy, and told reporters that the talk of a new party and the JD-S legislators planning to chart their own course was only due to “the heat of the moment”.

“The JD-S will move ahead under the leadership of Kumaraswamy. Deve Gowda will be guiding it and Prakash will provide intellectual inputs to it,” Datta said.

Deve Gowda, scheduled to be back here from New Delhi Wednesday evening, is expected to try to win over the angry legislators.