JD(S) insiders say that the rift between HD Revanna and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has grown wider, ever since the latter's son Nikhil decided to contest elections.

How rise of grandsons has brought JDS family feud into the open
news Lok Sabha 2019 Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 11:02

Trouble and infighting seem to have riddled the first family of the JD(S) and this became evident after Chamundeshwari MLA GT Devegowda's statement that JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda's family was ‘not one unit’.

"They (referring to Deve Gowda's sons) are all on their own. Balakrishna Gowda and his family are separate. Kumaraswamy and his family and HD Revanna and his family are all separate and they are not working as one family unit," GT Devegowda told the media on Saturday evening.

JD(S) insiders say that the rift between HD Revanna and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has grown wider, ever since the latter's son decided to contest elections. The rift seems to be over the continuing uncertainty about JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda’s choice of constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.

Why are the brothers fighting?

Over eight years ago, Prajwal Revanna, a young, barely-out-of-college student decided to enter politics. Thinking it would be easy for him to obtain a ticket, Prajwal was banking on his grandfather – HD Deve Gowda, to make things easier for him. However, Prajwal Revanna was told that he had to build up a voter base and a strong image and also contribute to the party before he was given a ticket to contest polls.

Prajwal Revanna shifted to Hassan district's Holenarsipura area and began working for the party. After forming a youth wing with active party workers, Prajwal Revanna was certain that his time would come and that he would be offered a ticket to contest the 2018 Assembly elections. However, Prajwal was made the party's General Secretary and was not given a ticket. Finally, the family patriarch – Deve Gowda announced that he would vacate the Hassan Lok Sabha seat for his grandson Prajwal during the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

It was then decided that Deve Gowda would contest from Mandya instead of Hassan and Prajwal would finally enter politics. Deve Gowda made a formal announcement in January this year. A few weeks after the announcement, Nikhil Gowda's film Seetharama Kalyana was launched and this had set the stage for Nikhil to be seen as the saviour of farmers. People across Mandya were given free tickets to watch the movie too.

In February, Nikhil Gowda was seen interacting with party workers in Mandya and had also told the media that there is "a lot of pressure from party workers, who want him to contest the Lok Sabha polls".

On March 6, Nikhil Gowda formally announced that he was contesting from the Mandya segment as the Congress-JD(S) coalition's candidate. JD(S) insiders say that this did not sit well with HD Revanna and Prajwal as the latter had to work for eight years before getting a ticket while Nikhil, who has no experience in politics or managing a party, was given a ticket without any effort.

With Deve Gowda having to vacate the Mandya seat for Nikhil, he is planning to contest either from Mysuru-Kodagu or Bengaluru North. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is unwilling to part with the Mysuru seat and is reluctant to give the ticket to a JD(S) candidate. "This is not a good idea and chances of losing are high. So, Revanna decided to speak out against Sumalatha in an attempt to bring down Nikhil's popularity. This would ensure that Deve Gowda himself would have to contest from Mandya to salvage the situation," a JD(S) insider said.

On Friday, Energy Minister HD Revanna made distasteful statements against legendary Sandalwood actor and former Congress MLA Ambareesh's wife, Sumalatha. Ambareesh's popularity in Mandya is unparalleled and Revanna’s calculated attack on Sumalatha was to generate unrest among the people and create a scenario where a rookie like Nikhil Gowda would not survive, JD(S) sources added.

Some of the party leaders told Deve Gowda to contest from Hassan and 'forget' about his grandson’s political aspirations. This further angered Revanna more, which is why he spoke that way about Sumalatha, to ensure that Nikhil is denied a ticket, sources said.