It's King Kumaraswamy

Last Updated : 21 September 2018, 12:30 IST

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H D Kumaraswamy, who was the chief minister for 20 months in 2006-2007, was sworn-in the 25th chief minister of Karnataka today.

After a post result drama and a torrid tug-of-war, things have turned in his favour. True to his repeated assertions, the "king" has the last laugh despite his party winning only 38 seats in a house of 224 members. The 58-year-old JD(S) state president is in the final talk to settle the disquiet over power sharing. Both the Congress and the JD(S) have now agreed to "forget the past, look at the future and forge a long-term relationship". The acrimonious campaign that the two parties ran against each other has come to a happy end.

Hard fought battle

Unfazed by scathing attacks against the JD(S) from both Congress and the BJP, Kumaraswamy fought the battle single-handedly seeking one last chance to be chief minister of the state. He was attacking both the national parties for their failure in addressing the issues at the grass-root level.

Despite the defection of 7 MLAs, he was still confident of winning the seats back. He visited villages and interacted with farmers and listened to their grievances and promised complete loan waiver if he comes to power.

His strategy of galvanising the party cadre from booth level also paid results. He could gain the confidence of the voters in old Mysuru region and Hassan where his party outperformed the Congress which eventually dethroned them from power. Kumaraswamy’s most brutal attacks were against Siddarmaiah criticising the "divisive secularism" and the revenge politics. He also had to confront family members who rebelled against the father-son leadership.

Kumaraswamy, affectionately known as 'Kumaranna' by his supporters, was far from the politician that he is today. He was a film producer before he took the plunge into politics. From the beginning of his political career, he always wanted to create his own identity and administration independent of his father.

During his tenure as chief minister, he earned a good reputation through his populist schemes including 'grama vastavya' where he stayed in villages to emphasise his rural moorings. 'Janata darshana' drew people from across the state looking for solutions which gave people an opportunity to let their grievances directly to the government. Through this, he received the grievances of people through direct contact and email and addressed them.

Kingmaker to King

Despite pre-poll surveys and post-poll surveys predicting that the JD(S) would emerge as the kingmaker, Kumaraswamy asserted on forming a government with the people's mandate.
As the elections threw up a hung Assembly with the BJP failing to cross the halfway mark, the Congress rushed to the JD(S) to form an alliance, offering the chief ministerial post to Kumaraswamy. A drama unfolded when the governor invited the BJP to form the government.

The Congress-JD(S) combine emerged victorious with the resignation of B S Yeddyurappa, ahead of the trust vote. Kumaraswamy was then invited by the governor to form the government.

Kingmaker, a role which the JD(S) played earlier and failed subsequently in the 2018 election, is now elevated to the throne. The country is looking up to the kingmaker-turned-king for heralding a hope of a combined Opposition against the mighty Modi-Shah duo. Will the king be able to build trust and a long-term friendship with the Congress despite having a shared history of broken deals and promises?

Published 23 May 2018, 10:24 IST

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