Opportunity knocks again for Kumaraswamy

Opportunity knocks again for Kumaraswamy

H D Kumaraswamy says thanks to his supporters from his father resiodence balcony at Padmanabhanagar residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Photo Srikanta Sharma R.

Lady Luck has once again favoured H D Kumaraswamy, who could become the next chief minister of Karnataka in a coalition government comprising the JD(S) and the Congress.

The JD(S) state president was quick to grab the opportunity when the Congress approached him with the offer to make him chief minister. He, along with his bete noire and outgoing chief minister Siddaramaiah, rushed to Governor Vajubhai R Vala to stake a claim to form the next government.

This election was, in Kumaraswamy’s own words, a “battle of survival” for the regional party. The JD(S) has been out of power for 11 years. In fact, political pundits had almost written off the JD(S) before the elections.

The first time Kumaraswamy became chief minister was in 2006, which was again a coalition between the JD(S) and the BJP. Then, Kumaraswamy was a first-time MLA having been elected from Ramanagara, which he has represented ever since. This time, not only did he continue his winning streak in Ramanagara, he also snatched the Channapatna constituency from BJP’s C P Yogeshwara.

Kumaraswamy’s first opportunity to become chief minister came in 2006, which he grabbed with both hands. In the 2004 elections, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 79 seats, followed by the Congress with 64 seats and the JD(S) with 59. The Congress and the JD(S) came together with Congress’ N Dharam Singh as chief minister.

In a sudden political development, a large section of JD(S) legislators marched to Raj Bhavan stating they had elected Kumaraswamy as their leader and staked claim to form a government in alliance with the BJP. The then Governor T N Chaturvedi asked Dharam Singh to prove his majority on the floor of the House. However, pandemonium followed and Singh later resigned. This paved the way for Kumaraswamy to become chief minister.

Kumaraswamy was a popular chief minister in his first stint from February 2006 to October 2007.