Bengaluru: Is former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy trying to use the arrest of senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to cull favour with the Vokkaligas and regain the Janata Dal (Secular)'s lost ground in its strongholds?
With the Janata Dal (Secular) gradually losing its base in some constituencies it usually considers a safe bet, the arrest of Mr Shivakumar has come in handy for Mr Kumaraswamy to portray the BJP as “anti-Vokkaliga,” according to some party insiders.
Going by them, JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda thinks that playing the caste card will help consolidate his party in its old strongholds.
And Mr Kumaraswamy reportedly believes that joining forces with Mr Shivakumar could allow the two to have “absolute control” over the Vokkaliga votes. While the strategy may not have gone down well with their partymen, the father and son duo continue to back Mr Shivakumar in his battle with the ED that has arrested him for alleged money laundering and other financial irregularities.
Just a few years ago, Mr Kumaraswamy and Mr Shivakumar were at loggerheads, often clashing in the state Legislative Assembly on various counts. But they seemed to bury their differences after the JD(S) and the Congress formed the last coalition government in the state.
In fact, when Mr Kumaraswamy's son, Nikhil contested the Lok Sabha polls from Mandya, Mr Shivakumar campaigned for him despite strong opposition to his candidature from Congress leaders.
After the fall of the coalition government, the popularity of the Janata Dal (Secular) in its stronghold of Mandya , where it had won all the seven seats in 2018 assembly polls, dipped.
Worse, an MLA from K R Pete joined the rebel group that pulled down the coalition government. The loss of face for the party in the Mandya constituency could not have been easy for Mr Kumarasway as he had announced a slew of projects worth over Rs 7,500 crore for it before the Lok Sabha polls. If party insiders are to be believed, he now sees an opportunity in Mr Shivakumar's arrest to change the tide in favour of the Janata Dal (Secular)....