Last week, Janata Dal (Secular) supremo, HD Deve Gowda made a startling announcement that only two of his family members - his sons HD Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna would contest the upcoming elections.
Rumblings began in the party that over a dozen members of Deve Gowda’s immediate and extended family were extremely unhappy about his decision to not give tickets to family members.
“This got worse when Deve Gowda hinted last week that Prajwal Revanna (grandson) would be fielded for Lok Sabha elections instead of the upcoming Assembly Polls. Prajwal has in the past openly spoken against the party because it did not suit his needs. Hence, talks began that he was displeased and so were the rest of Gowda’s family members who had aspired to contest,” a JD(S) source said.
Who are the ticket aspirants from Deve Gowda’s large family?
According to party sources, apart from Kumaraswamy and Revanna, their spouses Anita Kumaraswamy and Bhavani Revanna are also vying for tickets. Revanna’s son Prajwal is also hoping to contest from the Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency.
Anitha Kumaraswamy became an MLA once when she contested the Madhugiri bye-election in 2008. She lost in Channapattana in the 2013 Assembly Polls and also the Lok Sabha Elections in 2008 and 2014. Bhavani Revanna is currently a member of the Zilla Panchayat in Hassan. Her husband Revanna is considered the ‘behind-the-scenes’ man and currently controls the district of Hassan, which is the JD(S) stronghold.
Meanwhile, Revanna’s son Prajwal had accused the party of offering tickets to only those candidates who pay money. He was made the General Secretary of the party in November after his statements against JD(S)’ way of functioning. Prajwal Revanna, who joined the party eight years ago, had been demanding a ticket ever since he turned 25 years.
Members of Deve Gowda’s extended family are also hoping for tickets. Deve Gowda’s youngest son Dr Ramesh’s father-in-law - DC Thammanna is currently the Maddur MLA. The supremo’s son-in-law Dr CN Manjunath’s younger brother Balakrishna is the MLA from Shravanabelagola. Deve Gowda’s eldest son, who is also a retired bureaucrat - HD Balakrishnegowda’s daughter’s father-in-law Dr HC Rangappa’s name has already appeared on the list of 128 candidates. He is being given the Chamaraja Assembly constituency in Mysuru City.
With Deve Gowda’s announcement that no relative besides his sons would be given tickets, there is speculation about a great family feud among party members.
“Deve Gowda wants to break the image that JD(S) has given into dynasty politics. Hence, he made the announcement. Truthfully, out of the 128 candidates announced in the first list, Mallikarjun Khuba is all set to join the BJP and a few others too are planning to quit. The JD(S) is finding it hard to fill 224 candidates. They are already short of 90 candidates. If the party cannot get any candidates, then all family members will be given tickets,” the source added.
Besides, three hopefuls from his extended family have already been promised tickets. The party is also planning to concentrate their efforts only in 80 constituencies.
“JD(S) knows that contesting 224 constituencies and winning a simple majority is not possible. Hence, they are trying to increase their seats in the Old Mysuru and Hyderabad-Karnataka region. If they get over 60 seats then they will be able to bargain,” the source added.