Coming under fire for internal squabbles, Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda has said that the party will come to power in the state working out of a shed, just as the Pandavas did in the Mahabharata. However, there are numerous problems that it will have to deal with if that dream is to come true.
Speaking during a religious programme in Rajapura village in Tumakuru district, Gowda said: “It is for the farmers that we are organizing all these protests even without an office. We will come to power from that very shed and work for the farmers. God will not call me back until I have repaid that debt (to farmers). Party workers, go ahead and confidently do the work of the party.”
Gowda was referring to the lack of an office. Following a long-standing dispute over the ownership of Congress Bhavan, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Congress, and the JD (S) vacated the building in February this year. Deve Gowda had said that the party would continue to use a shed on the premises of Congress Bhavan in Anand Rao Circle area of Bengaluru. A month later, however, the BBMP allotted 39 guntas of land in the Sheshadripuram area of the city.
“When the Pandavas went into exile in the forests after losing everything, they had nothing. But in the end, in the battle for truth, they won the kingdom. In the same manner, the JD (S) will fight the battle for truth and return to power,” Gowda said.
A house in disorder
These remarks come in the light of the recent developments in the state’s political scenario. The JD (S) has been in disarray for quite some time now, largely because two power centres in the party – Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy – disagreed on several issues, throwing the non-family senior leadership of the party into confusion.
Although it tied up with the Congress to keep the BJP out of power in the Bengaluru mayoral elections, despite the BJP emerging as the single largest party, this disagreement ahead of the Legislative Council polls has resulted in some embarrassing moments for the party.
While Deve Gowda wanted a tie-up with the Congress in the upcoming Council polls, Kumaraswamy did not. Kumaraswamy reportedly felt that such a move would give a lot of clout to the Congress, as JD (S) would not be able to criticise the government.
However, after being given the go-ahead by Deve Gowda, three senior leaders of the party – Zameer Ahmed, Cheluvarayaswamy and Akhanda Shrinivasamurthy, went and met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to discuss the potential tie-up.
Kumaraswamy however called them “Congress stooges” for meeting the chief minister, forcing the trio to clarify that they acted with Deve Gowda’s permission.
Although everybody patched up after this and Deve Gowda announced that there would be no formal alliance with the Congress, the trio’s meeting with Siddaramaiah again to reportedly discuss development works has not gone down well with the first family.
For some time now, the JD (S) has been called the ‘appa-maga’ party meaning ‘father-sons’ party. An internal power tussle has taken up much of the party leadership’s time and energy.
Over the years, a number of leaders who built their political constituencies on the back of the socialist movement that originated in the anti-Emergency movement, have now left the party. One the most famous ones is Siddaramaiah, who threw in his lot with Deve Gowda when the latter broke away from the Janata Party to form the JD (S). Today, MC Nanaiah and YSV Datta are among the few political leaders in the JD (S) who retain any of their ideological roots.
Retaining their current support may be an easy feat for the JD (S), given that some of the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Congress might translate into support for the JD (S). But if at all the JD (S) is to get back to power, it has its work cut out, starting with sorting out its internal differences.