Karnataka Assembly Election Results on May 15 to decide who will rule over Deve Gowda’s flock

by May 9, 2018 0 comments

Deve Gowda’s flockKarnataka Assembly election will held on May 12 and the results will be out on May 15. It will be interesting to watch out who will win the election and who is able to rule over Deve Gowda’s group.

In January this year, I had the privilege of meeting octogenarian former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda at his house in Padmanabhanagar in Bengaluru. It was late in the night and he had been attending a series of meetings with party workers from across the State. He had a hectic day earlier that day attending four meetings across Karnataka. I did not have a formal appointment and was trying my luck. Finally, when I was called at 11:30 pm, after a three-hour wait, I thought I would barely be able to get his attention. Hesitant, I entered his room where I found him sitting composed with no signs of exhaustion whatsoever.

Sensing the precious opportunity I had of his audience, I blurted out all I could about how we were assisting political parties in their media and communication outreach, including professional management of social media. When I informed him about my academic and professional pedigree — a PhD from JNU and stint with three national dailies including The Pioneer — he took special interest and appreciated the work we were doing and also asked me to come the next day. What was remarkable was that when I was leaving, he personally handed over a banana to me. That was, I thought, an exceptional gesture. As I peeled it off on my way back, I admired his ability to lend that human touch to an insignificant meeting for him with a Dilli wala.

A fracture in my leg few days later did not allow me to pursue it further but as time progressed and I read about Karnataka election, I realised how significant Gowda would become in less than a week from now. Even though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems set to snatch the State from the Congress, reducing it to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called PPP or Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar, it is likely that the party would indulge Gowda post the election.

It was evident earlier last week as Modi generously spoke of the former Prime Minister. Modi had said that the son of the soil and former Prime Minister was among the tallest leaders of the country. “We have had political differences with Deve Gowdaji but there is no denying that he is among India’s most respected leaders,” said Prime Minister Modi, while in the same breath, attacking Congress president Rahul Gandhi for using foul language for Gowda. “The language Congress leaders have used for Deve Gowdaji is shocking. This shows their arrogance,” he said.

Gowda reciprocated the compliments and said that it was because of Modi that he continued in the Lok Sabha. “Before the 2014 election, I had said I would resign my Lok Sabha membership if BJP gets a majority on its own. I decided to resign, but Modi persuaded me against doing so. He said the country needs the experience and services of senior leaders,” National president of Janata Dal (Secular) (JD (S)), Gowda was quoted as saying by a newspaper.

The bonhomie of JD (S) and BJP, experts say, is also important given the fluid post-poll scenario as is being predicted by pre-poll surveys. A careful analysis of the BJP’s strategy would reveal that it has nurtured a good relationship with its alliance partners. Even though there is no such understanding with the JD (S), in a dynamically changing political scenario and with an eye on the 2019 general elections, it would be in the interest of the BJP to nurture good relationship with Gowda. For Gowda, too, it makes better sense to align with the BJP, given that the issues he wants to be addressed can best be handled by the party in power at the Centre.

For instance, Gowda has been raising the issue of Mahadayi and farmers suicides and has asked Modi to look into these two critical problems facing Karnataka. In fact, as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2,729 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka between 2014 and 2016 and the Prime Minister has attacked the Congress Government over the same. Modi also announced that the BJP would give a waiver to crop and other agricultural loans from State-owned banks and other cooperative societies.

It would help Gowda if he aligns with the BJP and sees that this is implemented expeditiously. A BJP Government in Karnataka will be better placed to arrive at a resolution of the Mahadayi dispute with Goa, another issue that Gowda has been articulating vigorously. For the BJP, Gowda can take some steam out of the facade of the Third Front and growing murmurs of discrimination from Central Government that two southern Chief Ministers — N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao — have been spearheading.

May 15 will be interesting to watch out for – not only for who wins, but who is able to hold the flock of Gowda into their side. For the 85-year-old, whatever may be the outcome, he shall continue to hold significance. And his blessings, post May 15, will matter a great deal.

(The writer is a strategic communications professional)

Writer: Navneet Anand

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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