Back to basics: Stung HD Kumaraswamy to begin village stay again

According to sources, Kumaraswamy has decided on at least four Gram Vastavya trips every month to reach out to people.

Bengaluru: Chief Minister H.D Kumaraswamy will soon make the transition from the five-star hotels he has been frequenting to discuss politics and poll strategy, to the rustic village ambience, learning a lesson from the parliament poll results in Karnataka where the BJP trounced the Congress-JD(S) alliance winning 25 of the 28 seats.

The results have sent out three messages hard and clear to Mr Kumaraswamy-one, irrespective of who rules the state, Karnataka's voters prefer the BJP at the Centre. Two, a coalition of the JD(S) and Congress cannot co-exist at the grassroot level as party workers have been opposing each other for decades and generations and will never join hands to fight elections together.

The third message for Mr Mr Kumaraswamy is a personal one-whatever individual popularity he had earned during his first tenure as CM for 20 months from 2006-07, has been lost in the last 12 months largely due to the bickering between the Congress and JD(S) which has left him with his hands tied.

Realising that it was time to make a quick turnaround and shed the image of a 'five star CM,' the CM has decided to restart his Gram Vastavya which took him to the peak of popularity during his first tenure.

According to sources, Mr Kumaraswamy has decided on at least four Gram Vastavya trips every month to reach out to people. There is a change this time-instead of staying at the houses of villagers which he did last time, he will staying in the local government school.

Gram Vastavya and Janata Darshan were two programmes that made Mr Kumaraswamy popular during his first tenure as CM though he lost the ensuing Assembly poll largely because of not handing over power to the BJP under the power sharing pact.

During his second tenure which began in 2018, Mr Kumaraswamy, citing austerity measures and rejected the government bungalow and car. But he started staying at a five-star hotel and relied on his private Range Rover for travel! Though the government did not pay for both, his lifestyle had become a matter of debate.

Change in attitude
There was also a noticeable change in his attitude this time. He was a good listener and quick learner but maybe because of the nerve-wracking time he had heading the coalition government, he isolated himself and barring a handful of close associates, no one has access to him.

Though some cited his heart ailment as the reason, there were few takers for this with even MLAs struggling to get an appointment with him.

Big blow
The blow from Mandya which rejected his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in the parliament polls was also an eye-opener and with the defeat of his father H.D. Deve Gowda in Tumakuru, the Chief Minister may have realised that it was time to go back to the people, said sources.

His worries are piling up with the coalition government on shaky ground because of its razor thin majority though the Bharatiya Janata Party has for now kept 'Operation Lotus' to lure ruling party MLAs on the backburner. This was the best time to rebuild his lost charisma and as a first step, the Chief Minister has decided to restart his Gram Vastavya visits, said sources.

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