Ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Thursday named news office-bearers to strengthen the party and revive its fortunes in Karnataka.
“Gowda has appointed 5-time legislator H.K. Kumaraswamy as the party’s state unit president in place of A.H. Vishwanath, who resigned from the post in June, owning moral responsibility for the party’s debacle in the recent Lok Sabha elections in the state,” party’s spokesman Ramesh Babu told reporters here.
Kumaraswamy, a Dalit, represents the Sakleshpur assembly segment in Hassan district, about 180km northwest of Bengaluru.
Former legislator Madhu Bangarappa has been appointed the party’s working president and former minister N.M. Nabi and legislator K. Gopalaiah as the party’s senior vice-presidents.
Gopalaiah represents the Mahalakshmi Layout assembly seat in Bengaluru’s northwest suburb.
“Though Bangarappa lost to BJP’s B.Y. Raghavendra in the parliamentary poll from Shimoga, he has been entrusted with the responsibility of reviving the party’s prospects in the Malnad region a stronghold of the BJP,” Babu said.
In a surprise move, Gowda made his younger grandson Nikhil president of the party’s youth wing although he lost in the Lok Sabha election from Mandya to Independent and South Indian multi-lingual film actress Sumalatha Ambareesh.
Nikhil, 28, is the son of state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Anitha, a legislator from Ramanagara assembly seat, about 60km southwest of Bengaluru.
Nikhil is also an upcoming film star in Kannada and Telugu movies.
Gowda’s other grandson – Prajwal, won the Hassan Lok Sabha seat, which is the party’s bastion and home district of the Gowda clan.
Prajwal is the son of state PWD Minister H.D Revanna, who is Gowda’s second son and elder brother of the chief minister (H.D. Kumaraswamy).
The former prime minister (Gowda) opted to contest from Tumkur, paving way for Prajwal in Hassan, but lost to BJP’s G.S. Basavaraj.
“The remaining office-bearers will soon be appointed to strengthen the party across the state and prepare for the local body elections in early 2020,” Gowda said on the occasion.
In the May 2018 assembly elections, the JD-S won only 37 of the 220 seats it contested and its candidates lost even deposits in 150 seats.
In the Lok Sabha polls, it won only one of the 7 seats it contested, with its ruling ally Congress, which also won only one seat (Bangalore Rural) of the 21 it contested as joint candidates as per the pre-poll alliance.
In contrast, a resurgent BJP won 25 of the 27 seats it contested and supported Sumalatha to wrest Mandya from the JD-S./Eom/410 words.