From Kingmaker, to King, to nothing

From Kingmaker, to King, to nothing

"I will be the king and not the kingmaker," H D Kumaraswamy had said in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly polls in 2018 before becoming the Chief Minister.

He managed to keep up to his words when he took up the post on May 23, 2018, as the CM of Karnataka, despite his party, the Janata Dal (S), finishing a poor third in the polls.

Kumaraswamy's journey as a ‘king’ in 2019 was shot-lived when he went to Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala after losing the trust vote on Tuesday. The wobbly Coalition managed to get 99 votes, whereas the BJP got 105 votes in the Karnataka Assembly.

The Vokkaliga leader's journey in politics was not an easy one. From being an 'accidental politician' to taking the front seat in the coalition, the former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda's third son has come a long way.

The 59-year-old made his political debut by winning from Kanakapura in the 1996 general elections. Since then, he faced numerous ups and downs. He faced his worst defeat the next year in 1998 against M V Chandrashekara Murthy.

He was elected for the second time in 2004 from Ramanagara assembly when the JD(S) got into a coalition with the Congress, which was under Dharam Singh. But the coalition ended with Kumaraswamy walking out of the coalition with his 42 MLAs and joined hands with the BJP. Dharam Singh resigned and Kumaraswamy ascended to the throne in 2007.

But there was a catch. According to the new coalition's power-sharing deal, Kumaraswamy had to give up the throne to Yeddyurappa after 20 months. He once again rebelled and managed to topple the government within seven days.

This move did not go down well with the people of Karnataka. He lost in the Assembly Elections that followed and Karnataka became the first state in the south to turn saffron.

As the pages of the Karnataka politics and Kumaraswamy's life turned, there was another big hurdle in his journey. He resigned as the president of the JD(S) state unit in 2013.

In 2018, the JD(S) emerged as the third-largest party in the Karnataka elections. After the post-poll alliance with the Congress, Kumaraswamy once again was sworn in as the CM.

Cut to 2019. A total of 16 MLAs stepped away from the coalition. The coalition faced a trust vote in the Assembly. The trust vote ended with the coalition unable to show the numbers to remain in power.

Kumaraswamy resigned after 14 months of being the CM of the State.

He was also called as the election machine, having contested nine times in the last 22 years and winning 6 times.

Kumaraswamy had proved right the adage that politics is the art of the possible, but the science graduate failed to get his chemistry right in keeping the coalition legislators together to ensure his government's longevity.

(With PTI inputs)