Politics
JD(S) MLAs SR Srinivas and GT Devegowda are among those who have openly voiced their anger against Kumaraswamy.

Dissent is brewing within the JD(S) in Karnataka with another party loyalist turning against the top brass. On Thursday, JD(S) MLA from Tumakuru’s Gubbi – SR Srinivas, lashed out against former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy alleging that phones of several legislators, including his were tapped.

Known as a JD(S) loyalist and ardent follower of party supremo HD Deve Gowda, SR Srinivas, told the media on Thursday that there would be nothing wrong in sending Kumaraswamy to jail if he had ordered officials to tap phones of legislators during his tenure as the Chief Minister.

“If HD Kumaraswamy was involved in phone tapping or involved in earning money through corruption, let him get arrested. There is nothing wrong in that,” Srinivas alleged.

“Is there a rule not to arrest Kumaraswamy? I know that telephone conversations were illegally intercepted during his (Kumaraswamy’s) tenure. My phone was also one among those that were tapped,” Srinivas alleged, while adding, “I have knowledge that Kumaraswamy may have suspected that I too was holding talks with BJP leaders in a bid to defect. Whoever has committed a mistake has to be punished mercilessly.”

Srinivas said that soon after he learned of the alleged illegal phone tapping, he had changed his number. The legislator also lashed out against Kumaraswamy for not attending the massive rally held in support of Congress leader and former Minister DK Shivakumar on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

“If JD(S) leaders truly care about DK Shivakumar’s arrest, why have they not gone to Delhi to meet him? The entire Vokkaliga community came together and protested against his arrest. Why did the Gowda family members not attend?” he questioned, while stating that Kumaraswamy had spoken in support of DK Shivakumar only because he may also face arrest in the alleged phone tapping scandal. Kumaraswamy had on Wednesday stated that he had not been invited for the protest and hence, had stayed away. 

JD(S) sources say that Periyapatna MLA Mahadev, Nelamangala MLA Suresh Gowda and Srirangapattana MLA Ravindra Srikantaiah are mulling over defecting to the BJP. With dissent brewing in the party, its leader HD Deve Gowda has once again stated that none of his family members will be given tickets to contest the bye-elections, slated to occur in 17 segments after its legislators resigned. 

This is not the first time a JD(S) loyalist has spoken out against the party’s top brass. 

For the last couple of months, legislator from Chamundeshwari, GT Deve Gowda has openly expressed his concerns about Kumaraswamy. On Thursday, GT Devegowda also lashed out against Kumaraswamy. “Kumaraswamy gave me the Primary and Secondary Education portfolio despite the fact that I had explicitly told him that I did not want it. He planned to drop me from the cabinet and hand over my responsibilities to Sa Ra Mahesh as Kumaraswamy was hoping for me to fail. But I fulfilled my responsibilities. I am a self-made politician. I don’t need anyone’s backing,” GT Devegowda hit out.

Since early August, GT Devegowda has been keeping company with BJP leaders including Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha. GTD, as he is popularly known, shot to fame after he defeated former Chief Minister Siddarmaiah from Chamundeshwari constituency in the Assembly Elections in 2018. A popular Vokkaliga leader, GT Devegowda was also seen with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on several occasions, leading to speculation that he would join the BJP.

Speaking to TNM, GT Devegowda says that he had no plan to quit the JD(S). “I have no plan to quit JD(S) and join BJP. But anything can happen in politics,” he said.

JD(S) sources say that Periyapatna MLA Mahadev, Nelamangala MLA Suresh Gowda and Srirangapattana MLA Ravindra Srikantaiah are mulling over defecting to the BJP. With dissent brewing in the party, its leader HD Deve Gowda has once again stated that none of his family members will be given tickets to contest the bye-elections, slated to occur in 17 segments after Congress and JD(S) legislators resigned.