HD Deve Gowda- The kingmaker of Karnataka
Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda, aka HD Deve Gowda, is an important chapter in the political annals of Karnataka. Rarest of the rare political brain from the state, Deve Gowda was 11th Prime Minister of India from 1 June 1996 to 21 April 1997. Prior to which he was serving as the 14th Chief Minister of Janata Dal Karnataka from 1994 to 1996.
Deve Gowda's political journey has been fascinating one from being a president of the cooperative bank in a remote town to the highest executive post in the Union Government of India.
A realpolitik - a combination of leadership and a strategic mind- has the power to be kingmaker in Karnataka politics. Yet, Janata Dal (Secular) party led by Deve Gowda has not made an impact in Karnataka politics since 2008. Unlike RJD's Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Deve Gowda;s JD (S) has not ruled the state with a majority.
His political adventure has cost him a lot. In 2008, JDS did not transfer the power to BJP with BS Yeddyurappa as CM in accord to the initial negotiation. This led to a major setback for JDS in 2008 Vidhan Sabha election. Interestingly, Both BS Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah betrayed by Deve Gowda eventually became Chief Minister of Karnataka state.
Also, opposition parties in the state bestowed the sarcastic call JD (S) a 'Father-Son party' due to Deve Gowda' preference to his sons- H. D. Revanna and H. D. Kumaraswamy.
A prominent face of Vokkaliga community, Deve Gowda along with his sons HD Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna has maintained sway over Old Mysuru region of the state which sends 89 MLAs to the assembly. Ahead of assembly polls, Deve Gowda has completed 'Shatha Chandi Yaaga' (an elaborate 15 days long Havan to appease the Goddess Chandika) at Shringeri, said he had performed it for the welfare of the state and "not the destruction of someone".
If the upcoming assembly elections throw up a hung assembly, no doubt, Deve Gowda's JD (S) will be in driver's seat once again. Electorates will be interested to know which one of the former CMs (BS Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah) will dare to join hands with king-maker Deve Gowda given their bitter experience.