Gowda banks on ‘bahu’ as Karnataka gears for bypolls

December 10th, 2008 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyBangalore, Dec 10 (IANS) Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) president H.D. Deve Gowda has fielded his daughter-in-law Anita Kumaraswamy in an assembly byelection - one of the eight due in Karnataka this month.The 44-year-old Anita, wife of former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, is a businesswoman who runs a Kannada TV channel called ‘Kasturi’. She is pitted against a ‘defector’ from the JD-S, C. Chennigappa, who is contesting on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.

They are fighting it out in Madhugiri, one of the eight constituencies where bypolls are to be held Dec 27.

The other constituencies are Doddaballapur, Karwar, Turuvekere, Hukkeri, Arabhavi, Devadurga and Maddur.

Anita is the fourth member of the Gowda family to enter politics. Besides her husband Kumaraswamy and father-in-law Deve Gowda, her brother-in-law H.D. Revanna is also in politics. Revanna was a minister in his younger sibling Kumaraswamy’s cabinet in 2006-2007.

A computer science graduate, Anita is contesting a poll for the first time. She is taking on Chennigappa, a fellow ‘Vokkaliga’ - a politically influential caste in Karnataka - in Madhugiri, about 90 km from Bangalore.

She filed the nomination at Madhugiri Monday accompanied by husband. The couple have a college going son, Nikhil.

Her rival Chennigappa was a Gowda loyalist but joined the BJP recently along with his son D.C. Gowrishankar who had won the May assembly poll from Madhugiri on the JD-S ticket.

Wednesday was the last day for filing of nominations in all the eight constituencies. Polling will be held Dec 27 and counting of votes will take place Dec 30.

Seven of the assembly seats were vacated after the respective legislators, with the intention of joining the BJP, resigned from the assembly to avoid disqualification under the anti-defection law.

These are Arabhavi, Devadurga, Hukkeri, Madhugiri (all of which were held by the JD-S) and Doddaballapur, Turuvekere and Karwar (all held by the Congress).

The eighth bypoll, in Maddur, is being held following the death of the JD-S legislator.

Four of the defecting legislators - Balachandra Jarkhiholi, K. Shivana Gouda Naik and Umesh Katti, (all ex-JD-S) and Anand Asnotikar (formerly Congress) - have been rewarded with ministership in the BJP government.

The BJP is fielding all the four ministers from their respective constituencies - Jarkhiholi from Arabhavi, Gouda Naik from Devadurga, Katti from Hukkeri and Asnotikar from Karwar.

The BJP had won 110 seats in the May assembly poll, three short of a majority. But it formed its first government in southern India with the support of six independents. Five of them were made ministers for helping the BJP come to power.

The party then decided to net legislators from the JD-S and the Congress to reduce dependence on independents for government survival.

The Congress and the JD-S are rattled by the BJP poaching on their legislators. They have not succeeded in working out an alliance, though both keep saying all secular forces should join hands to contain ‘communal forces’, as the BJP is referred to by its political and ideological opponents.

Deve Gowda has ruled out any alliance with the Congress for the bypolls and has been repeatedly telling the media that the party “has not shown any interest in consolidating secular forces against communal elements”.

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