JD(S) workers chant Modi's name

Minister G T Devegowda (right) tries to pacify JD(S) workers at a party meet in Mysuru on Friday. DH photo/Nesara Kadanakuppe

In a major embarrassment to the JD(S), its workers raised slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting chaired by two Cabinet ministers in Mysuru on Friday.  

The discord ahead of the Lok Sabha election worsened with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy accusing the Congress and others of creating a Chakravyuha — a reference to a deadly labyrinth from the Mahabharata — to defeat his son Nikhil in Mandya.

In Mysuru, JD(S) workers were called for a meeting chaired by ministers G T Devegowda and Sa Ra Mahesh to discuss Congress candidate C H Vijayashankar’s campaign. Things turned awry when Devegowda and Mahesh were confronted by an angry cadre that questioned the very alliance with the Congress, a staunch rival in Mysuru.  

The ministers pacified party workers with a promise that the alliance with the Congress was confined to the Lok Sabha elections, and not for any future election.

Alarm bells rang when Devegowda, after the stormy meeting, told reporters that the JD(S) should not be held responsible if Vijayashankar lost. “We have convinced our party workers, but differences remain. We will do our duty. When H Vishwanath lost, Siddaramaiah was the chief minister. Was he held responsible? Likewise, how can we be held responsible?” he asked.

The Congress is banking on the JD(S) to wrest Mysore from BJP. Vijayashankar happens to be Siddaramaiah’s aide, making it a high-stakes election for him. Victory will mean Siddaramaiah’s re-establishment in Mysuru, following his shock defeat in the Chamundeshwari Assembly segment last year.

The Congress, however, is afraid that the JD(S) will not work for Vijayashankar in Mysuru if its own party workers do not support Nikhil in Mandya. A section of Congress leaders is unwilling to campaign for Nikhil, while Congress flags were seen during independent candidate Sumalatha’s campaign.

Kumaraswamy, while speaking in Chikkamagaluru, lashed out at the Congress for “colluding” with Sumalatha. “Developments have gone out of hand in Mandya. The independent candidate has widespread support. She may appear independent, but she has the support of Congress, BJP and Raitha Sangha. All of them have joined hands to trample JD(S),” he said.

This came a day after Kumaraswamy’s father and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda also rued that things were beyond control in Mandya, suggesting that it was indeed a tough election for his grandson.  

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, however, brushed aside G T Devegowda’s statement that the dissidence could be more widespread. “I will talk to him. There are problems only in some parts of Mandya. Both parties will hold a joint campaign in Mysuru on April 7,” he said.

Siddaramaiah and G T Devegowda are arch-rivals.

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