HD Kumaraswamy (HDK), the scion of Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (S) is drawing crowds at his election rallies in Karnataka though he is campaigning alone in the state under scorching mid-day sun without any glamour of film actors or famous personalities like ruling BJP and Congress party. Though Congress party president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders of the state were holding a meeting just 60kms away from Kumaraswamy’s venue, the crowd at the latter’s rally was larger than the one at Congress meeting. Known as “Kumaranna”, HDK has earned the reputation of being the state’s most accessible chief minister during his short 20 month stint.
Since his party JD(S) lost power in 2008, it has not been able to make inroads in either local or national politics and HDK know that if he does not win elections this time it could signal an end to the party’s future and his political career too. His father knows that too so has appointed him as the party’s flag-bearer. While both the political bigwigs, Congress and BJP were expecting the JD(S) to stay out of forthcoming elections, the positive public response to Kumaraswamy’s rally in Mysore has made the Congress nervous.
Of the 224 seats that are available in Karnataka Assembly, around 75 are being contested by Congress and JD(S) while others are being fought over between Bhartiya Janata party and Congress. Though Kumaraswamy has been facing several health issues and recently underwent a heart surgery, he is travelling across the party’s heartland in a special bus and addressing limited meetings and public gatherings. His public meetings in Mysore, Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur and few locations in Bengaluru’s outskirts has witnessed huge crowds of supporters. While the BJP is hoping that JD (S) will be able to wrest a few seats from Congress, the father-son duo of Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy is making all efforts to stay relevant in state politics.