A move to shed the Vokkaliga party tag

A move to shed the Vokkaliga party tag

The appointment of A Krishnappa as the president of the State unit of the JD(S) is seen as a reply to the allegations made by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and to garner votes of the other backward classes (OBCs).

Siddaramaiah has been charging that JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda, being a Vokkaliga, never allowed him to become the chief minister as he belongs to the Kuruba community (that comes under OBCs). Krishnappa belongs to the Golla (Yadava) community that comes under the OBCs. He got the post despite being a new entrant into the party. He was earlier with the Congress.

“The appointment of Krishnappa was unanimous and it is subject to the decision of the national executive committee meeting. The meeting to ratify Krishnappa’s appointment will be held in October last week or November first week,” Gowda said. Krishnappa has got the post at a time when the Lok Sabha elections are just a few months away.

According to party leaders, with the JD(S) having a strong base in the Vokkaliga belt, the support of the OBC community is required to ‘make up for the difference’ for winning the elections in many parts of the State. The seats presently targeted by the JD(S), wherein there is a sizeable population of the OBCs, are Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mysore, Hassan, Chitradurga and Tumkur. These districts have a considerable Golla (Yadava) population.

Krishnappa was fielded in the last Assembly elections by the JD(S) from Hiriyur in Chitradurga, where there is a considerable population of his community. He lost by a narrow margin of 1,205 votes to the Congress candidate. The JD(S) is projecting Krishnappa as the alternative face of the OBCs to Siddaramaiah.

Though Krishnappa lost, he has opened an office in Chitradurga and has been building the party in the district. He is known for his hard work. He was with the Congress for nearly 28 years and had served as a minister in the S M Krishna government.

Kurubas and Idigas are considered powerful sub-sects under the OBCs. Gowda has consciously chosen a leader belonging to a minority sub-sect under the OBCs. Krishnappa said that he would try to strengthen the party and expose the Congress’ follies. The JD(S) has adopted the motto of ‘social justice and inclusive leadership,’ a part of which is his appointment as the State unit president.

Despite the ‘unanimous’ appointment, dissidence lingers in the JD(S). According to sources, dissident MLA Mallikarjuna Khuba is hoping for the post of the party’s chief whip. It is said that he acquiesced to the appointment of Krishnappa, after much cajoling from Kumaraswamy. The party is still not sure whether he will stay with the JD(S).

Once again, Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan was absent from Wednesday’s party meeting. Party leaders said Zameer and senior leader N Cheluvarayaswamy had conveyed their reasons for keeping off the meeting. H D Revanna, MLA from Holenarsipur, too kept off the meeting.

Deve Gowda said that the party would not form a core committee as there is no provision for it in the party constitution.

“We will have a political affairs committee which will oversee the preparations and selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections,”said Gowda. He said he will tour states where the JD(S) has a base in the next few months.  

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