The upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka are expected to witness a three-cornered fight between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and the Janata Dal (Secular). With the two national parties up for an all-out bid to secure power, JD(S) stalwart leader and former CM HD Kumaraswamy is leaving no stone unturned to challenge both parties with the extensive campaign across the southern state. The JD(S) leader who is contesting the election from the Channapatna assembly constituency, filed his nomination on Monday, April 17. Notably, he had fought the previous assembly election from Channapatna and Ramanagara seats, winning both with a comfortable margin.
HD Kumaraswamy or popularly known as "Kumaranna" is the son of the former Prime Minister of India, HD Deve Gowda. He was born on December 16, 1959, in Haradanahalli, a village in the Hassan district of Karnataka, and graduated from National College Basavanagudi, Bangalore with a Science degree.
Kumaranna started his political career in 1996 when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kanakapura seat. Interestingly, his father, former PM HD Deve Gowda, had also previously represented this constituency in the past.
However, in 1998, Kumaraswamy lost the re-election for the Kanakapura constituency to Congress' MV Chandrashekara Murthy by a significant margin. This was Kumaraswamy's worst electoral defeat as he even forfeited his deposit. The JD(S) leader had to face defeat in the 1999 Karnataka Assembly election from Sathanur seat against DK Shivakumar. After his two back-to-back defeats, Kumaranna's fortune changed after he was elected to the assembly for the first time in 2004 from the Ramanagara constituency.
In 2006, Governor TN Chaturvedi invited Kumaraswamy to form the government in Karnataka under a 20-month power-sharing agreement between JD(S) and BJP. He served as the state's Chief Minister from February 2006 to October 2007. However, before resigning from his position, he refused to transfer power back to BJP as agreed upon in the power-sharing agreement, and the coalition collapsed.
Kumaraswamy was again sworn in as Karnataka CM in 2018 with Congress' support, despite JD(S) being the third largest party. However, he resigned from his post after his coalition government with the Grand Old Party lost the trust vote.
Though the JD(S) leader has said that he will not go with any of the national parties for the assembly elections which are scheduled to take place on May 10, his past with these parties has shown that Kumaranna will play a crucial role if no party gets a majority in the election, as then both-- Congress and BJP will seek his support to form the government. It has to be seen whether he will be a King or a Kingmaker or there will be no JD(S) magic in the state.