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3 ex-CMs from NDA in poll fray heats up campaign in Congress helmed Karnataka

While Bommai and Shettar -- both Lingayats -- are from the BJP; Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga, is the JD(S) state President and son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 06:20 IST

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Bengaluru: Three former Chief Ministers from NDA are in the Lok Sabha race in Karnataka, heating up the campaign scene in the Congress-governed state.

Basavaraj Bommai (Haveri), Jagadish Shettar (Belgaum) and H D Kumaraswamy (Mandya) joined a long list of predecessors who wanted to play an innings in national politics and many of them successfully as well.

While Bommai and Shettar -- both Lingayats -- are from the BJP; Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga, is the JD(S) state President and son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

Of the total 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, BJP is contesting in 25 and JD(S), which joined the NDA in September last year, in three.

There have been a total of 23 Chief Ministers of Karnataka (known as Mysore state before November one, 1973) since 1947; 14 of them have also served as members of Lok Sabha, and two Rajya Sabha.

Seven of them -- K C Reddy, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Veerendra Patil, Gundu Rao, S Bangarappa, Veerappa Moily and B S Yediyurappa -- shifted to national politics by becoming MPs, after demitting the office.

An equal number became Chief Minister after their stint as Parliamentarians -- S Nijalingappa, H D Deve Gowda, J H Patel, S M Krishna, N Dharam Singh, H D Kumaraswamy, and D V Sadananda Gowda.

S R Bommai and Ramakrishna Hegde had their Parliamentary innings as members of Rajya Sabha.

Basavaraj Bommai is making his debut in the Lok Sabha polls, almost a year after the BJP fared poorly in the assembly polls held in May last year, when he was at the helm. Currently an MLA from Shiggaon, the son of Janata Pariwar stalwart late S R Bommai, is contesting from Haveri Lok Sabha seat.

The 64-year-old had stepped in as the Chief Minister, largely due to the backing of Yediyurappa, who was asked by the BJP central leadership to step down in July 2021.

Bommai, a four time MLA, was Chief Minister from 2021-23.

According to party insiders, he stands a chance of being part of the Modi cabinet in the event of the BJP-led NDA returning to power.

Shettar is fielded from Belgaum (Belagavi), represented by BJP's Mangala Angadi, the widow of former Union Minister of State Suresh Angadi.

Shettar, who hails from Hubballi-Dharwad region, is a relative of the Angadi family.

The 68-year-old former state BJP President had quit the party to join the Congress ahead of the state assembly polls last year after being denied the ticket, in a setback to BJP in the Lingayat belt.

He returned to BJP in January. Shettar was initially reluctant about contesting from Belagavi and wanted Dharwad, which the BJP has given to sitting MP Pralhad Joshi.

During the 2012 political turbulence and factionalism within the ruling BJP in Karnataka, Shettar had emerged as the consensus candidate, and with support of various factions he went on to become the Chief Minister for a brief period, replacing Sadananda Gowda.

BJP lost in 2013 assembly polls and Shettar became the Leader of Opposition. During the BJP's second stint in government in 2019, Shettar served as Minister under Yediyurappa, but opted out from being Minister under Bommai, citing seniority.

Shettar, a six-time MLA who also served as MLC for three months, had served as the Chief Minister for 10 months between 2012 and 2013.

Shettar is also contesting a Lok Sabha election for the first time.

"I will be the king and not the kingmaker," Kumaraswamy had said in the run-up to the Assembly polls in 2018. His words turned prophetic as the Vokkaliga leader occupied the Chief Minister's post for the second time, despite his JD(S) finishing a poor third in the polls. It was a coalition government with the Congress.

But his tenure was short-lived as the wobbly coalition government that he headed collapsed after 13 months in power. Kumaraswamy had earlier served as the Chief Minister for 20 months from 2006 as the head of a JD(S)-BJP government.

Kumaraswamy forayed into electoral politics by successfully contesting the Kanakapura Lok Sabha seat in 1996. Subsequently, he lost both the parliamentary and assembly elections but was elected to the assembly for the first time in 2004, when the JD(S) joined the coalition government led by Congress' Dharam Singh after the polls threw up a hung House.

In 2006, he rebelled and walked out of the coalition with 42 MLAs reportedly against the wish of his father, citing a threat to the party, and formed the government with the BJP, becoming the CM during his very first term as MLA.

Under a rotational chief ministership arrangement, he helmed the state for 20 months.

When the BJP's turn for Chief Ministership came, he reneged on the promise to transfer power, and brought down the Yediyurappa government within seven days.

In the 2008 assembly poll, BJP came to power. In 2009, Kumaraswamy successfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Bangalore Rural.

The five time MLA now represents Channapatna seat.

The 64-year-old has made no secret of his desire to become Agriculture Minister, if the Modi government comes back to power.

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Published 14 April 2024, 06:20 IST

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