GTD proving to be a tough nut to crack for JD(S)

He stands by his comments on party’s changing political alignments though leadership is irked

With his proclaimed political neutrality and non-cooperation with the party, former Minister G.T. Deve Gowda is proving to be a tough nut to crack for the JD(S) in the Mysuru region at a time when the party is looking to revive its political fortunes.

Mr. Gowda, who has been spurning the party leadership’s overtures ever since the JD(S)-Congress coalition government collapsed in 2019, incurred the wrath of former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy earlier this week.

At a party forum in Bengaluru, Mr. Kumaraswamy took serious offence not only to Mr. Gowda’s refusal to attend the meeting organised to revamp the party, but also for stating that JD(S) was a party that has been changing its position to align with BJP and Congress from time to time depending on the political circumstances.

Mr .Kumaraswamy, who appeared to have lost patience with the JD(S) MLA from Chamundeshwari, said there was a demand to remove people indulging in anti-party activities and threatened to start the process of purging the party from Mysuru though he did not identify Mr. Gowda by name. Mr. Kumaraswamy’s warning of expulsion was repeated by former Minister S.R. Mahesh with whom Mr. Gowda has been at loggerheads.

Mr. Gowda’s recalcitrant attitude in one of its key strongholds in Mysuru district is turning out to be a major headache for the JD (S), which is seeking to instil discipline in the rank and file as part of its efforts to strengthen the party ahead of 2023 Assembly polls.

Mr. Gowda incidentally was the only senior JD(S) leader from the region, who had stayed behind when the rest deserted the party with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in 2006. Also, he carries the distinction of defeating Mr. Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency during the 2018 polls.

Responding to Mr. Kumaraswamy’s warning, Mr. Gowda acknowledged that the warning was directed at him, but claimed he had done no wrong to justify any action against him.

Referring to his reported remarks that had annoyed the party leadership, Mr. Gowda reasoned that he was only trying to project the strengths of the JD(S). Mr .Gowda attributed his remarks to a poser from the media on the speculation over merger of JD(S) with BJP and claimed that he had only said that the support of the JD(S) was necessary to whichever party that forms the government in the State. He said he had cited the party’s alliance with Congress in 2004, with BJP in 2006 and with Congress in 2018 only to highlight its political strengths.

“So, I had said that the party high command will take a decision depending on the time and situation. So, what is my fault? It is not anti-party activity. Why target me?”, Mr. Gowda said adding that he was proud about his association with the JD(S) and said he respected former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Mr. Kumaraswamy and former Minister H.D. Revanna.

Meanwhile, the threat to expel Mr. Gowda appeared to have died down sooner than later with Mr. Mahesh, a day later, denying that the party was planning to remove him from the party. Also, he said the party will fight the next Assembly elections in Mysuru district under the leadership of Mr. Gowda and the party will be fielding not only Mr. Gowda, but also his son Harish Gowda in the elections.

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