After months of speculation, the JD(S) has finally decided to give Kumaraswamy's son and actor, Nikhil Gowda a ticket to contest from the Mandya Lok Sabha segment. On Monday, over 50 persons were hospitalised after a bus turned turtle in Mandya's Maddur. Nikhil Gowda visited the Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences around 10 am to check on the injured persons.
Speaking to the media after his visit, Nikhil Gowda said, “Yes, the party's national president and state leaders have decided to give me a ticket to contest from the Mandya Lok Sabha segment. I am here to serve the people.”
He was also quick to add, “No, I am not contesting from Mysuru. The party's leaders have spoken with their alliance partners. The Congress and the seniors in both parties have decided to support me.”
‘Have utmost respect for Sumalatha’
When questioned about him going up against actor Sumalatha, Nikhil Gowda said that he has the utmost respect for her and her husband and the late Congress leader Ambareesh.
“I do not want to make any statement about Sumakka (referring to Sumalatha). I have the utmost respect for her. I do not want to speak about the contest between us. I will meet her and speak with her. Abhi (Sumalatha's son Abhishek Gowda) is like a younger brother to me. Ambareesh used to treat me like a son. I had spent a lot of time with Ambareesh while shooting for the film, Krukshetra,” Nikhil Gowda said.
‘Not worried about outsider tag’
Over the last few months, since speculation of Nikhil's entry to politics began, there have also been talks of Nikhil being an outsider to Mandya. The JD(S) first family, which is primarily from Hassan district, had always relied on its regional leaders in other parts of Old Mysuru, including Mandya, to ensure a win for the party in these districts. Responding to the tag of an outsider, Nikhil said that he is not worried about it.
“I am not worried about it and do not want to say anything further. I am here to stay. I will soon take up residence in Mandya and prepare for the elections," Nikhil Gowda added.
‘People in Mandya want Nikhil to contest’
On Sunday, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda told reports in Mangaluru that it was not wrong for anyone to want to contest polls. He added that the Mandya and Hassan segments have always been JD(S)’ seat and there was no way a JD(S) candidate would not contest from these two segments.
Deve Gowda, however, conceded that he was considering offering the ticket to Nikhil Gowda and that he has been a ticket aspirant for a while.
“He (Nikhil) did not say he wants to contest. But people there (Mandya) want him to. He had decided to step into politics only after a couple of years or more but the youth are pressuring him. It may be because of the glamour associated with him, as he a film star," Deve Gowda said.
He further stated that he had asked Nikhil if he wanted to contest the Lok Sabha polls. “He should not feel his grandfather was more interested in Prajwal (HD Revanna’s son) and not him. Why should I get the bad name at this age," Gowda added.
With Nikhil Gowda’s entry into politics, Deve Gowda now ensured that the third generation of the JD(S) first family are firmly embedded into the party’s politics. Earlier in January, Deve Gowda had announced that his grandson Prajwal Revanna would contest Lok Sabha polls from Hassan. Soon after, Nikhil Gowda, too, began making appearances at political functions and JD(S) party meetings along with his grandfather. Over the last couple of months, Nikhil has openly asked for support from the party workers and the people.
As talks of Nikhil’s entry into politics began, JD(S) insiders believed that he may not get a ticket as it would give the opposition a reason to accuse the senior leaders of dynasty politics. “They want to keep the power within the family and looks like it will not change,” a JD(S) leader told TNM.