Blame Game In Deve Gowda's JDS After Cross-Voting In Rajya Sabha Polls

Srinivas Gowda accepted that he voted for Congress instead of JDS during Rajya Sabha polls (File)


The bitter strife of the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) came out in open on Saturday a day after the cross-voting by two of its MLAs during the biennial elections for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka.

The party leadership blamed two of its MLAs, Srinivas Gowda from Kolar and S R Srinivas from Gubbi, for betraying the party.

While Mr Gowda accepted that he voted for the Congress, Mr Srinivas maintained that he had cast the ballot only for the JD(S).

Party state president C M Ibrahim said he would recommend to the party chief and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda to expel them from the party.

The BJP bagged three seats — Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Kannada film actor-turned-politician Jaggesh and Lahar Singh Siroya — while the Congress won only one seat as Jairam Ramesh secured it.

The JD(S) was expecting to win at least one seat and it fielded D Kupendra Reddy. It also expected the Congress to support its candidate.

However, the main opposition party fielded Mansoor Ali Khan, due to which neither the Congress, nor the JD(S) won the elections. The loss of the two parties was the BJP’s gain as its third candidate Siroya won in a closely fought election.

The two MLAs in their no-holds-barred statements said they were no more dependent on the party leadership, especially their former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, as they hinted at parting ways.

As the JD(S) leadership, especially Mr Kumaraswamy, held Mr Srinivas accountable for voting in favour of the BJP, the Gubbi MLA maintained on Saturday too that he had voted for his party’s candidate.

The legislator even went on to say that the JDS leadership arranged an MLA to cross vote in favour of the BJP and put the blame on him to finish him off politically.

“His (Mr Kumaraswamy’s) only job is to make money. They take money in the name of giving seat. Like in the rural areas, farmers have areca nut trees for their living, these people (JDS first family) have kept this party for their living,” Mr Srinivas alleged while talking to reporters in Gubbi of Tumakuru district.

Charging that money matters more in the JD(S), the Gubbi MLA claimed that people get ticket to contest elections only after getting money for the party. He even alleged that the party arranges its workers only when the candidate pays money to the leadership.

Slamming Mr Kumaraswamy for accusing him of cross-voting, Srinivas said, “If he (H D Kumaraswamy) had some shame, he would not have said so. If he is a man and has guts then let him show it in Gubbi (Srinivas’ assembly constituency). Let him contest the election there. I am not the one to be afraid of it. We grew to this level after facing all this.”

Upset with the “unnecessary character assassination” by Mr Kumaraswamy, Mr Srinivas maintained that he had cast his vote in favour of the party’s candidate D Kupendra Reddy as he never thought of betraying the party, which gave him a ticket to contest the election.

“What to call this man (Mr Kumaraswamy) who is giving a twist to the matter? He has no shame and self-esteem. Is he a leader? Who knows whether he knows politics at all,” Mr Srinivas alleged.

To a query on Mr Kumaraswamy seeking his resignation, Mr Srinivas questioned the JD(S) leader’s authority to ask him for it. He said it is the people of Gubbi who should demand it.

Mr Srinivas even said he never used the photographs of ‘father-son duo’ (H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy) and never called them in his constituency for canvassing during election.

Stating that he never went against his conscience, he hit out at Mr Kumaraswamy.

“He (H D Kumaraswamy) is like a chameleon, who thinks he is ‘Satya Harishchandra’ and Sarvagna (all knowing),” Mr Srinivas charged.

The Gubbi MLA alleged that the JD(S) used one of their loyalists to do cross-voting and blamed him for it to finish him off politically.

Kolar JD(S) MLA Srinivas Gowda blamed Mr Kumaraswamy, which compelled him to vote for the Congress, and not the JD(S) candidate during the Rajya Sabha polls.

“His (Kumaraswamy) way of functioning is not proper. He behaves like a dictator. So, I came out of that commitment (to serve the party). It’s the voters, to whom I am answerable,” Mr Gowda told reporters in Kolar.

He added that the JD(S) gave him ticket to contest the assembly election because they did not have any other choice.

According to him, the humiliation he suffered in the party, compelled him to vote against the whip.

“When my seniority is not respected then why should I remain in that party anymore? I am a senior politician who has faced six elections — four times I won and twice I lost,” Mr Gowda said.

Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters that he knew Gubbi MLA Srinivas would ditch him. “I had told him to tell me clearly whether you don’t want to vote or not. He left his ballot paper blank and tells reporters that he voted for the JD(S). People will give him a befitting answer,” he said.

Mr Kumaraswamy’s brother and Deve Gowda’s son H D Revanna, also an MLA, expressed outrage over the two party legislators’ actions.

“I will not speak against him. God will punish him. The man who was nowhere was elevated to the level of minister,” he said.

JD(S) leader Ibrahim saw a conspiracy by the Congress behind the cross-voting by its two MLAs.

“I have spoken to our national president Deve Gowda for their expulsion from the party. We will cancel their party membership,” Mr Ibrahim said.

The JD(S) workers staged a demonstrations against Gubbi MLA Srinivas. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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