The powerful Gowda family in Karnataka suffered two major setbacks on Thursday as Lok Sabha election results were declared. Both former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Devegowda, who contested from Tumkur, and his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the party’s candidate from Mandya, lost the polls. However, Devegowda’s another grandson, Prajwal Revanna, won from party bastion Hassan.
Devegowda, who moved from Hassan to Tumkur for the elections, was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party’s GS Basavaraj by a slim margin of 13,339 votes. The former prime minister is now likely to retire from electoral politics.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy lost to independent candidate Sumalatha, the wife of three-time Congress MP and film star Ambareesh who died last year, by over one lakh votes. Sumalatha contested as an independent because the Congress did not give her a ticket. She was backed by the BJP, and also had the support of some Congress workers who were reportedly unhappy that the seat – once a party stronghold – had been allotted to coalition partner Janata Dal (Secular).
The results are likely to have an adverse impact on the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in the state. So far, the BJP has won 22 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats and is leading in three more. The saffron sweep in the state indicates that the two coalition partners have remained hostile to each other and failed to work together at the ground level.
evegowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy, the state chief minister, said the results were unexpected, and the coalition partners would deliberate on the reasons for their crushing defeat. “Our party has seen many victories and losses over the years and party workers need not lose heart on this loss,” he tweeted. “Let us strive to strengthen the party in the days ahead.”
The coalition has been in turmoil since the past several months. The Congress on Tuesday issued a show cause notice to senior leader Roshan Baig after he said party leaders in the state should be held responsible if the Congress performs poorly in the elections. On May 10, state BJP President BS Yeddyurappa had said 20 Congress legislators were disgruntled with the coalition and may quit the party soon.
Yeddyurappa on Thursday said the electorate “taught the Congress a befitting lesson”. The saffron party has decided to “wait and watch” if the alliance crumbles, he added.