Bengaluru: The David who felled Goliath, G T Deve Gowda, says voters demonstrated their ire against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah because he tried to win them over after a gap of 12 years, but is rather rueful that his friend-turned-foe botched his political career by deciding to switch from Varuna to Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency.
Mr Deve Gowda, known for his giant killer image, says the outgoing Chief Minister spent 15 days in futility, trying to garner the support of voters of Chamundeshwari though he could won without much sweat in Varuna. “I feel he should have contested from Varuna, packed off his son to Badami or some other constituency, and campaigned more vigorously for his party colleagues during those 15 days,” he told Deccan Chronicle.
He wondered why Mr Siddaramaiah took the decision to return to Chamundeshwari when he knew it was a bastion of JD (S). “We are in power in Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat. His supporters used to come to this constituency only when the leader arrived on a visit. How did he expect people to reject me as I have nursed this constituency and worked for its overall development? People here like my family, and so did not like the idea of him trying to seeking to enter the Assembly from here,” he added.
Turning nostalgic about their love-hate relationship, Mr Deve Gowda said he was proud of the fact that he propped Mr Siddaramaiah during his electoral debut in 1983 and later vowed to ensure his ascent to the post of Chief Minister. “I worked for his success for 25 years, and no one stood by him like I did. He rode on luck to occupy all possible positions from legislator to minister, deputy chief minister, leader of Opposition, president of state JD (S) and ended at the top as Chief Minister. Why don’t you ask him if he remembers how.
I rented a house for Rs 25 a month in Mysuru and turned it into the venue for political activity ahead of his first election in 1983. I used to order masala tea for Rs 1.50 for everyone attending meetings in this house. I also organized the first motorbike and lorry rally in the constituency, and was arrested following a clash with supporters of Congress. I was among those arrested after the clash but sneaked out of the police station in the early hours,” he added.
Mr Deve Gowda said he paid a heavy price and was isolated by JD (S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda and his son H D Kumaraswamy as he was identified a supporter of Mr Siddaramaiah. “I was promised a big amount as I was the party candidate in Hunsur constituency, but I ended up borrowing from friends as the father and son turned against me,” he added. He said he was targeted during his brief stint in BJP too because of his bonds with Mr Siddaramaiah. “He could have risen further in his political career but he has ruined his chances by contesting from Chamundeshwari,” he added.