Son, son-in-law and grandson: Gowda’s JDS once again banks on first family in LS polls

News Network
April 5, 2024

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Bengaluru: A striking feature in the candidates list for the April 26 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka is the presence of members of Janata Dal (Secular)'s first family.

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda's son H D Kumaraswamy, son-in-law C N Manjunath and grandson Prajwal Revanna are all in the fray.

While state JD(S) chief and former Chief Minister H D Kumararaswamy is contesting from Mandya, Prajwal Revanna is seeking reelection from Hassan.

However, Manjunath, an eminent cardiologist, is contesting from Bangalore Rural on a BJP ticket, as per the arrangement between the alliance partners.

With the entry of cardiologist Manjunath into the poll arena, at least nine members of Gowda's immediate family are or have been in electoral politics.

Gowda is a Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, while Kumaraswamy is an MLA from Channapatna, which comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency.

Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha had represented Ramanagara as MLA in the previous assembly, and Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing leader, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya and 2023 assembly polls from Ramanagara.

Gowda's elder son and former Minister H D Revanna -- father of Prajwal -- is MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat. Their other son, Suraj, is an MLC.

The Gowda family currently has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

This will be for the second consecutive time in the Lok Sabha elections, when three members from Gowda's family are in the fray from constituencies of the old-Mysore region (south Karnataka), which is considered to be the party's stronghold, because of the dominance of the Vokkaliga community here, to which they belong to.

Gowda (Tumkur), Prajwal Revanna (Hassan), and Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil (Mandya) had contested the Lok Sabha poll in 2019, but only Revanna emerged victorious. In fact, he was among the only two candidates from the then ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance, who won; the other being D K Suresh of Congress from Bangalore Rural.

As part of the seat-sharing deal in this Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, the BJP would contest in 25 constituencies and the JD(S) in the remaining three -- Mandya, Hassan and Kolar. JD(S) has fielded M Mallesh Babu from Kolar.

In the 2023 assembly polls, three members of the Gowda family had contested - Kumaraswamy (Channapatna), H D Revanna (Holenarasipur), and Nikhil Kumaraswamy (Ramanagara). In the 2018 assembly polls, both Kumaraswamy and Revanna had won.

Kumaraswamy, who had then won from two seats - Ramanagara and Channapatna - vacated Ramanagara, which his wife Anita Kumaraswamy subsequently won in the bypolls.

According to some political observers, the perception in some quarters about JD(S) being too family-centric is one of its major drawbacks.

James Manor, University of London professor, who has been a keen observer of Karnataka's politics, during a webinar ahead of assembly polls last year had said, family-centred politics is causing discontent and leading to desertion. 'JD(S) suffers from over-centralisation and dictatorial leadership.'

However, Kumaraswamy has time and again defended family members contesting polls stating that , '....our family members will contest where we don't have a capable candidate, to protect the interest of our party and its workers.'

However, the JD(S)'s dynastic party image has always been used by its political opponents to target it.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress president D K Shivakumar, had a dig at Gowda for fielding his son, grandson, and son-in-law, and asked 'Were there no other candidates (in JD(S))?'

'None of them is going to win...JD(S) is a party that has lost strength. If it is really strong, why did they make their son-in-law contest on a BJP ticket?' he said.

Some political analysts held the view that JD(S)' inability to grow beyond the Vokkaliga dominated old-Mysore region -- other than certain select pockets of north Karnataka -- is seen as among its other key drawbacks.

Speculations are already rife in JD(S) circles that Nikhil is most likely to be the party candidate from Channaptna assembly segment, in case Kumaraswamy wins in Mandya.

Ahead of assembly polls last year, differences in the Gowda family had come out in the open with H D Revanna's wife Bhavani wanting to contest from Hassan, but Kumaraswamy had opposed it and finally gave the ticket. 

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News Network
May 21,2024

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Mangaluru, May 21: A tragic road accident on Shiradi Ghat early Tuesday morning claimed the lives of a college student and his mother. The mishap involved their Innova car and a speeding truck.

The deceased have been identified as Mohammed Shafiq bin Shabbir (20) and his mother, Safiya (50). Shafiq, a student at P A Engineering College in Mangaluru, was driving the car. They were residents of Bondala in Bantwal taluk.

The accident occurred in the jurisdiction of the Sakleshpur rural police station as the car was nearing Kempuhole on Shiradi Ghat. A container truck, traveling in the opposite direction, collided with their vehicle.

Among the car's passengers, three children sustained serious injuries. The family was returning from a wedding reception in Bengaluru.

Family sources reported that the victims had attended a wedding reception in Bengaluru on May 20. They left the city around midnight to return to Dakshina Kannada. The accident occurred when the truck collided with their car.

The mortal remains of Shafiq and Safiya have been moved to a private hospital in Mangaluru. The injured children are receiving treatment at another hospital in the city.

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News Network
May 28,2024

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Shivamogga: A Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation (KMVSTDC) officer reportedly ended his life in his residence at Vinobnagar in the city on Sunday evening by hanging himself from a fan.

According to police, the deceased has been identified as Chandrashekhar (52), serving as Superintendent in the KMVSTDC office in Bengaluru. He took the extreme step when his spouse Kavita and others had been to Machenahalli near Bhadravathi to attend the funeral ceremony of a relative. 

In his death note, he charged that the corporation's Managing Director JG Padmanabh, Accounts officer Parashuram Durugannavar, and Union Bank of India Chief Manager Shuchismatha Rawal are responsible for his death. He also alleged that the funds to the tune of Rs 187.33 crore had been allegedly transferred to various accounts following pressure by the managing director of the corporation. He could not understand the conspiracy, he said.

The bank had not issued a cheque book, or a passbook yet. Besides, financial irregularities amounting to Rs 85 crore had also taken place in the corporation and the officers had transferred cash to various accounts violating the norms, he explained. 

He also claimed that neither is he part of any such illegal activity, nor did he cheat anyone. However, the only mistake he did was that he could not complete writing down the details of transactions in the cheque book and cash register due to work pressure. "I am not a coward. But I can't face any insult. I did not find any other way. Please forgive me".

Kavita, his spouse, had lodged a complaint against three officers in Vinobnagar police station on the basis of the death note.

Posting on X, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly R Ashoka demanded Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to sack minister B Nagendra from the cabinet and order for a probe into the suicide.

Terming it as murder, he said, the officer took the extreme step when the other officials tried to fix him in the scam of the corporation. "How many people have to lose their lives for the government's commission hunger?" he questioned. 

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News Network
May 21,2024

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Bengaluru: Home Minister G Parameshwara on Tuesday said that the Karnataka government has written to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking the cancellation of the diplomatic passport held by absconding JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna. This follows an arrest warrant issued by a special court against the Hassan MP wanted in multiple rape and sexual harassment cases.

Speaking to reporters in the city, Parameshwara said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the cancellation of Prajwal's passport.

“But the department writing it, as per the law, is different,” the Home Minister said. “A warrant has been issued now (and) based on the warrant, a letter has been written, stating that a warrant has been issued and the diplomatic passport has to be cancelled.”

Parameshwara said that in case the ministry cancels the passport, it will be impossible for Prajwal to stay in a foreign country and he would be compelled to return.

"We have written to the Ministry of External Affairs as matters related to passports come under them, they will have to respond to it," he added.

Prajwal fled to Germany after the Phase II Lok Sabha polls in the state on April 26. A few days before the polls, explicit videos of women allegedly harassed and sexually assaulted by the MP were leaked and pen drives filled with the visuals were purportedly distributed in Hassan.

Prajwal is accused of raping two women. He is also accused in a separate sexual harassment case, where his father JD(S) MLA HD Revanna is the co-accused.

On Saturday, a Special Court for Elected Representatives issued an arrest warrant against the MP after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the Hassan sex abuse case moved an application.

Earlier the SIT had issued Look Out Circulars and a Blue Corner Notice, seeking the whereabouts of the MP, was also issued by Interpol in response to a request by the SIT via the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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