Kumaraswamy leads JD(S) back to power in K'taka

Last Updated: Wed, May 23, 2018 19:38 hrs

New Delhi: The Janata Dal (Secular) made a grand comeback in Karnataka politics after over a decade of political isolation with HD Kumaraswamy taking oath as the state's 24th chief minister at the Vidhana Soudha, on Wednesday evening.

This will be 58-year-old Kumarawamy's second term as the chief minister of Karnataka since 2007, when he last held the post for 20 months.

Hailing from the dominant Vokkaliga caste, Kumaraswamy - or 'Kumaranna' as he is popularly called by his followers - is the third son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

Although he has a political background, Kumaraswamy was initially inclined towards the entertainment industry, and was a film producer and distributer of Kannada films before entering politics at the age of 37.

Kumaraswamy entered politics in 1996 by winning elections from Karnataka's Kanakapura constituency. This was followed by a period of setbacks. He lost the re-election in 1998 and later the Sathanur assembly seat in 1999.

The year 2004 marked a crucial point in his career when he contested and won from the Ramanagara seat in state assembly elections. The 2004 Karnataka polls was a fractured mandate and led to the formation of an alliance between the Congress Party and Janata Dal (Secular).

The coalition government helmed by Chief Minister Dharam Singh ended prematurely after 42 JD(S) MLAs led by Kumaraswamy pulled out of the alliance in 2006.

In the same year, the JD(S) entered into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Kumaraswamy became chief minister for the first time, albeit on a rotational basis. However, this alliance too ended when Kumaraswamy refused to hand to the BJP's BS Yeddyurappa in October 2007, as decided upon under a power-sharing agreement.

The power tussle finally ended with Kumaraswamy's resignation on October 8, 2007, after which the state was put under the President's rule. Later, he reconciled with the BJP and Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister on November 12, 2007.

Nevertheless, during his short stint as chief minister, Kumaraswamy garnered public support and was even called the 'People's CM.'

Since November 2014, Kumaraswamy has been the JD(S) Karnataka state president.

In the recently held state assembly elections, Kumaraswamy won from both the Channapatna and Ramanagara assembly constituencies comfortably.

The election result for 222 out of 224 assembly constituencies resulted in a fractured mandate, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party (104 seats) only nine seats short of a simple majority mark of 112.

The Congress with 78 seats and JD(S) with 37 seats, and two Independent candidates, formed a post-poll alliance with a total of 117 MLAs.

What followed was a high-voltage political drama in the state, as Governor Vajubhai Vala invited Yeddyurappa to form a government on May 16, and gave him 15 days to prove majority, amid huge uproar by the opposition.

On May 18, the Supreme Court, on the plea of the Congress and JD(S), shifted the floor test to May 19. Unable to garner the required number by the deadline, Yeddyurappa stepped down from the post of chief minister before the floor test could be conducted, mere two days after he was sworn in.

JD(S) ally, Congress bagged more seats out of the two but its chief ministerial candidate Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari seat to G T Deve Gowda of JD(S) and won in Badami only by a little over 1,600 votes.

The hung assembly in Karnataka led to an unlikely alliance of the two rival parties, but both sides now maintain that they have set aside their differences in the people's interest.