Hunsuru MLA and senior JD(S) leader AH Vishwanath was named as the party's state president on Sunday. He replaces Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy as state president of the party and senior party leaders claimed that the decision was taken to relieve the CM from additional burden and allow him to focus on his role as CM.
The decision was taken at a party meeting at JP Bhavan in Bengaluru. Kumaraswamy has been president of the party since 2008.
The shake-up in the JD(S) camp comes ahead of the party's preparations for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The party has already announced it will fight the elections as an ally of the Congress in the state.
Sources in the JD(S) claimed that Vishwanath's elevation to the role of state party president will help the party in the smooth functioning of the coalition government ruling in the state, especially in the wake of alleged hurdles thrown up by former CM Siddaramaiah.
It also comes days after Vishwanath publicly requested Siddaramaiah to advise the CM in person instead of writing letters to him. "Being a former CM and chairman of the coordination panel, it is unbecoming on the part of Siddaramaiah to write letters to his predecessor. In fact, Mr Siddaramaiah has no role to play in the daily administration of the coalition government. It's better for him to stop writing letters on trivial issues and give friendly advice when he meets the Chief Minister in person," he said in an interview with Deccan Chronicle.
Vishwanath was formerly with the Congress but left the party to join JD(S) in 2017. He was an MLA three times with the Congress in 1978-83, 1989-94 and 1999-2004. He was also an MP from Mysuru constituency from 2009-14.
He reportedly left the Congress in 2017 after a falling out with Siddaramaiah.