Bengaluru: When G.T. Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S) was fielded against Siddaramaiah from Chamundeshwari constituency, situated in the Karnataka chief minister’s home district of Mysuru, few could have imagined the outcome of this “David takes on Goliath" battle that surprised even those who predicted a close fight.
Gowda, 68, a short statured man whose public persona is barely comparable to any other politician his age, beat Siddaramaiah by over 36,000 votes on Tuesday, in a battle that was always seen to favour the chief minister, as this was a constituency that the latter had won in five assembly elections.
Gowda, who works out of a playhome/tuition centre converted office in Vijay Nagar III phase in Mysuru, seemed unflustered in the run-up to the polls, more so as he was backed by his boss, former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda, who had to settle earlier scores with Siddaramaiah.
Deve Gowda’s celebrations though will have to be limited as he would soon share space with Siddaramaiah as the Congress and JD(S) are likely to join hands to form the next government, with the regional party having the upper hand.
“He (Siddaramaiah) has risked his political life for his son. He would not have had this problem had he contested from Varuna," G.T. Deve Gowda told Mint in an interview in April. His words now sound prophetic as Siddaramaiah not just lost his seat in Chamundeshwari but also the chief minister’s chair as the state did not give a clear majority to any party, forcing a coalition. Siddaramaiah’s son, Yathindra Siddaramaiah, won an almost unchallenged election in Varuna beating his closest competitor by 580,00 votes.
Though G.T. Deve Gowda did not enjoy the goodwill of all his constituents over lack of developmental work, his party had consolidated the Vokkaliga community, believed to be the second largest caste grouping in the state. The feeling of discord among the Vokkaliga communities of being neglected by Siddaramaiah’s government also favoured the regional party and its candidate. During his political career, Gowda had seen victories in two zilla panchayat elections, one APMC polls and winning one assembly seat, by his own admission. But Tuesday’s victory would be one he would savour the most