Crisis deepens in JD(S), MLC Puttanna expelled

MLC Puttanna. (DH photo)

The crisis in the JD(S) deepened on Wednesday with the party expelling its three-time MLC Puttanna for “anti-party” activities, a move that has irked many in the party. 

Puttanna had recently announced his decision to quit after the party chose another candidate over him for the upcoming Teachers’ Constituency polls. JD(S) state president H K Kumaraswamy issued an order expelling him from the party. 

Puttanna will complete his term in June 2020 as the Bangalore Teachers’ Constituency representative. He had expressed his unhappiness with the party’s leadership several times in the past. Last week, the party decided to field another contestant in his place for the polls.

Puttanna told DH that he would write to the party seeking an explanation. “They have mentioned that I have indulged in anti-party activities without caring to elaborate.”

His expulsion drew criticism from within the party ranks. A senior JD(S) leader told DH: “What was the point in expelling him now? He has made statements supporting the BJP and Congress several times in the past. The party did not want to take action on any of those occasions.” The action against Puttanna comes at a time when bitterness is brewing within the party ranks.

When DH reached out to some leaders, they cited lack of trust within the party and the growing resentment. Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy’s recent statement to the media that he couldn’t “prescribe a medicine to the MLCs’ problem because he didn’t know what was ailing them”, has further infuriated them.

That apart, while Gowda has called a party meeting on November 12 in a bid to appease the disgruntled leaders, some saw it just as a formality with no outcome. “The party cadre believes that the leadership neither trusts them nor values them. They want people to do the grunt work ahead of elections only to dump them later. You will see more resignations in the coming days,” Puttanna said.

Others echoed his opinion. “Kumaraswamy’s statement goes to show that the party does not care for its cadre. What’s the point in convening a meeting when we know that he will give a cold shoulder to our grievances?” one MLC remarked. Senior MLC Basavaraj Horatti put it plainly: “Some of us will attend the meeting out of respect for Deve Gowda. That apart, there are no expectations from it.”

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