Ramanagara MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy on Tuesday announced that JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda will contest from the Tumakuru Lok Sabha constituency. Speaking to reporters in Mandya, Anita Kumaraswamy said, “Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy are the star campaigners in Mandya and they will campaign for Nikhil. Deve Gowda will also contest from Tumakuru.”
However, a few hours later, Deve Gowda himself told reporters in Bengaluru that he had not made a decision yet. “I am 86 years old and will turn 87 in a couple of months. I will decide if I would contest or not once I hold talks with the coalition leaders. I have not yet decided if I will contest from Bengaluru North or Tumakuru,” Deve Gowda had said.
Anitha Kumaraswamy’s statement comes after former Congress MP Ambareesh’s wife Sumalatha announced that she would contest as an independent candidate from Mandya.
Where will Deve Gowda finally contest from?
Ever since the former Prime Minister gave up two important JD(S) bastions to his grandsons, Prajwal Revanna (Hassan) and Nikhil Gowda (Mandya), the elusive question has been – from which constituency will Deve Gowda contest?
The Congress-JD(S) alliance partners on Thursday announced that the JD(S) would contest from eight segments: Uttara Kannada, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, Tumakuru, Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru North and Vijayapura.
Sources in the JD(S) say that Deve Gowda is mulling over bringing in the incumbent Congress MLA from Tumakuru, Muddanahume Gowda, to the JD(S) and putting him as a candidate.
“He is thinking about refraining from contesting elections as it is risky to contest from Tumakuru or Bengaluru North. There is a lot of pressure from the party workers who want him to contest. They are even asking him to contest from Hassan. He has not yet decided anything,” the source added.
In January this year, when Deve Gowda announced that he would relinquish his seat in Hassan to Prajwal, he was mulling over contesting from Mandya. Soon pressure began mounting on offering Nikhil a ticket and Deve Gowda handed over Mandya as well.
Deve Gowda then wanted to contest from Mysuru-Kodagu. But his arch-rival and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah refused to part with his home constituency and the JD(S) was not offered the Mysuru ticket.
The JD(S) was left with Bengaluru North and Tumakuru constituencies and in both segments, the fight is a risky one for the former Prime Minister.
Bengaluru North has a considerable population of people from the Muslim and Christian communities and also has a huge population of Vokkaligas. During the 2018 Assembly Elections, the Congress and JD(S) won the eight constituencies that fall under Bengaluru North. Although this seems like a logical choice for Deve Gowda, the rebellion in the Congress is brewing trouble for the octogenarian.