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The Gowda Feud: How JD(s) Dug Its Own Grave Due To Nepotism And Dynastic Politics

Image Source The Economic Times

The Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(s), led by Deve Gowda, has set a goal of obtaining 123 out of the 224 assembly seats to form the government of Karnataka on its own. Yet even as the party prepares for the upcoming election, a kind of conflict has started in its home, revealing the HD Deve Gowda family’s flaws.


HD Deve Gowda
Image Source: Deccan Herald

Bhavani Revanna, the wife of HD Revanna, party supremo Deve Gowda’s older son, is at the centre of this family conflict since she is determined to run for office from Hassan, the epicentre of Vokkaliga politics. This should not have been an issue because the JD(S) is known for its family-first political approach.

So why is it happening? Scroll to find out!

When The Gowda Brothers Fight

Interestingly, the opposition to Bhavani’s candidature has come from inside the family, specifically from Revanna’s younger brother HD Kumaraswamy, demanding that the ticket goes to a devoted JD(S) member. This is the first time Kumaraswamy has meddled in Hassan’s affairs, traditionally regarded as Revanna’s domain.


H D Revanna
Image Source: Oneindia

Of course, Kumaraswamy had pledged the seat to HP Swaroop, the late HD Prakash’s son and a four-time JD(S) Member from Hassan who had fallen to Preetam Gowda of the BJP in the previous election. Only Bhavani, in the opinion of Revanna, who has a well-known personal grudge against Preetam Gowda, can win back the seat for JD(S).


Bhavani Revanna Gowda
Image Source: The News Minute

Deve Gowda has tried to mediate a settlement between the brothers, but his efforts have been unsuccessful because both sides stand firm. Until this point, the family has always portrayed a picture of harmony. The current strife has sparked rumours that the party is embroiled in a succession struggle as the senior Gowda, approaching 90, maintains poor health.

When Family Comes Before Party

On the domestic front, it may not be lost on Bhavani that she had to stick with a mere Zilla Panchayat membership. Moreover, her sister-in-law, Anitha Kumaraswamy, was given the party ticket to contest the state Assembly election twice and managed to win in 2018 from Ramanagara. Bhavani is the odd one out, even in her family. Her son Prajwal is an MP from Hassan, while another son, Suraj, is an MLC. Her spouse Revanna is an MLA from Holenarasipura.


Prajwal Revanna
Image Source: Wikipedia

The Gowdas are known for going above and above to advance the interests of their family; therefore, the delay regarding Bhavani has surprised people. Deve Gowda, for instance, moved from Hassan to Tumakuru during the 2019 parliamentary elections to make room for his grandson Prajwal. Another grandson Nikhil contested from Mandya, a JD(S) stronghold, displacing the party’s then-sitting MP, LR Shivarame Gowda.


Nikhil Kumaraswamy
Image Source The Wire

Moreover, Prajwal became the representative defeating his family members, Nikhil and Deve Gowda. Deve Gowda was then appointed to the Rajya Sabha; however, Anitha has since given up her Ramanagara seat in favour of Nikhil. Family members were always given the seats rather than any “loyal members.”

Nepotism and Unethical Compromises

For those unaware, JD (S) is a Janata Party splinter faction that initially took control of the state in 1983 when Ramakrishna Hegde served as the Chief Minister. The party won elections in 1994 in a new guise, Janata Dal, with Deve Gowda serving as the prime minister. He became prime minister by chance in June 1996, and one of his first acts as leader was to remove Hegde from the party.


Ramakrishna Hegde
Image Source: Bangalore Mirror

In the years to come, Siddaramaiah and anyone else who constituted a threat to Gowda or his family would be ruthlessly removed. The Janata Dal itself broke up in 1999, with Gowda founding the JD(S) and the then-chief minister JH Patel joining the Janata Dal(U).

JD(S), which could have developed into a powerful regional force in Karnataka similar to its counterparts in neighbouring states, has blown a good chance that was handed to it. The party is noted for not having any ideological grounding or beliefs and has established coalition governments with the BJP and Congress.


Image Source: News First Kannada

The question is whether the party can overcome the years of nepotism, blatant opportunism, and immoral concessions that have come to characterise it if it is to survive. Even though Kumaraswamy is working tirelessly to resurrect the party nearly by himself, it might be a case of closing the barn doors after the horses have fled.


With inputs from Moneycontrol.

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