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As 8th Gowda looks to enter Karnataka politics, JD(S) says, ‘Anyone can contest’

Ex-PM H.D. Deve Gowda's daughter-in-law Bhavani Revanna announced herself as JD(S) candidate from Hassan Tuesday. Family is second only to Nehru-Gandhis in political representation.

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Bengaluru: The Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(s) led by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda has often been referred to as an “appa-makkalu” (father-children) party. And his daughter-in-law Bhavani Revanna announcing herself as the party’s candidate in Hassan for the 2023 assembly election won’t make it any easier for the regional outfit to fend off these allegations.

However, the JD(S) is yet to make any official announcement. It has said it would consult all stakeholders before taking a decision on the candidate for Hassan.

Bhavani would be the eighth member of Gowda’s immediate family — which is second only to the Nehru-Gandhis in terms of political representation — to enter state politics, adding to an entrenched culture of dynasty in poll-bound Karnataka.

Addressing a public event in Hassan Tuesday, she said, “The last time around, Hassan assembly constituency went to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and there are many (public) works that are still unfinished. Within the next 90 days, the election will be over. On this occasion, everyone has been talking about my candidature and they (party) have also decided this. In the next few days, they (party) will also state my candidature.”

Infographic: Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint
Infographic: Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint

Family of politicians

While Bhavani is a former zilla panchayat member, her husband H.D. Revanna is a former minister and the sitting MLA from Holenarasipura. Her elder son, Suraj Revanna, is an MLC from Hassan district. Her younger son, Prajwal, represents Hassan in the Lok Sabha.

Gowda gave up his home seat of Hassan for Prajwal and contested, unsuccessfully, from neighbouring Tumakuru in 2019. A year later, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha.

Gowda’s other politician son, H.D. Kumaraswamy, is a two-time chief minister of Karnataka and the sitting legislator from Channapatana. His wife, Anita Kumaraswamy, the MLA from Ramanagara, has announced that she will give up her seat for her only son, Nikhil, in the 2023 assembly election. Nikhil lost from Mandya in the 2019 general election.

Nikhil’s landslide loss was attributed to disgruntlement within the party about long-time workers being overlooked in favour of Gowda’s family members. The party last year began looking for new candidates in anticipation of an exodus ahead of the assembly election.

Bhavani’s candidature is likely to further fuel tensions within the Gowda household where the families of the two brothers have been competing to outdo each other in order to secure control over the party.

JD(S) not an exception

Karnataka politics is dominated by dynasts. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is the son of former chief minister S.R. Bommai. His predecessor B.S. Yediyurappa’s son, B.Y. Raghavendra, is the MP from Shivamogga. Yediyurappa has decided to give up his Shikaripura seat for his other son and state BJP vice president B.Y. Vijayendra in the 2023 assembly elections. BJP leader and MLA from Basavanagudi Ravi Subramanya is the uncle of Tejaswi Surya, the firebrand MP from Bengaluru South.

The Congress is not far behind. Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra is the MLA from Varuna. State Congress president D.K. Shivakumar is the legislator from Kanakpura and his brother, D.K. Suresh, is the MP from Bengaluru Rural.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy said Monday that everyone has the right to contest elections. “But an appropriate decision will be taken in view of the message that goes out to the state and being mindful of the party organisation,” he said while addressing reporters. He added that other leaders also practise dynasty politics but target only Deve Gowda’s family.

On Bhavani’s candidature, the party has said that a decision would be taken after consultation with all stakeholders. “On all matters related to Hassan district, Revanna and Deve Gowda will take the decision and this is Kumaraswamy’s stand too. Any decision (on ticket distribution) will be taken only after consultation with all stakeholders and local leaders, and keeping in mind the sentiments of the people and party workers,” T.A. Sharavana, MLC and deputy leader of the JD(S) in the upper house of the state legislature, told The Print.

(Edited by Smriti Sinha)

Also read: One way to de-polarise Indian politics—add MOTA to the ballot

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