Very long-standing politician in the country, among very few, former Prime Minister and JDS supremo Deve Gowda is left with not seat to contest, for the firs time during his 57 years of political career.
The 85-year-old has fought 15 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections since 1962. He has won 13 of them, losing just two in the last 57 years. Except a short period between 1989 and 1991, Gowda has been a member of either state Assembly or Parliament continuously.
In coalition politics, his party is left with only eight seats to contest and decided to offer two of those constituencies to his two grand sons, paving way for their political entry, the third generation in his family, it seems he is left with out a comfortable seat to contest.
Family pressures forced him to leave his Hassan seat to elder grand son Prajwal Revanna, son of his elder son and revenue minister HD Ravanna. The neighbouring Mandya seat, which is also considered to be strong hold for JDS was left to younger grand-son and film actor, Nikhil, son of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
He considered Bengalore North, Mysore and Tumkur. As the Congress refuse to concede later two seats, he himself said to be not sure to contest from Bengalore North, as it is known as a strong hold for BJP. Even Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and several JDS leaders are also cautioning that it would be risk-some seat, being a city constituency.
JDS sources said that Gowda is willing to shift to Tumkur where his party did remarkably well in the last assembly elections. But, the local Congress unit is opposing any such move and even threatening to work against its coalition partner.
Gowda was eyeing Mysore-Kodagu seat, currently held by BJP MP Pratap Simha. He thinks it will be much easier to win from there because of a large number of Vokkaliga votes in the constituency. But former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who hails from Mysore is opposing Gowda’s entry and has managed to secure it for his candidate CH Vijayashankar who was earlier BJP MP twice.
Meanwhile, Deve Gowda is facing opposition from a section of his own party against fielding of two of his grand sons in Lok Sabha polls. Even Congress leaders and workers from both those constituencies are also openly opposing their political entry. A few of them even defected to the BJP, vowing to defeat them.