nikhil kumaraswamy
JD(S) youth leader Nikhil Kumaraswamy in a file photo | X/@Nikhil_Kumar_k

Karnataka | Nikhil Kumaraswamy gearing up to helm a rejuvenated JD(S)

Cousin Prajwal and uncle HD Revanna are caught up in a sex scandal, while father Kumaraswamy is now a Union minister; Nikhil appears eager to tap the opportunity

After the recent Lok Sabha elections, in which the JD(S) won two of its three seats, the party seems to have a new leader in Karnataka — Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of former Chief Minister and now Union minister HD Kumaraswamy.

Amid the rape charges hurled at cousin and party colleague Prajwal Revanna, who was also a political rival, Nikhil Kumaraswamy made known his intention to lead the party in the state by holding a press conference minus other leaders.

It helps that Nikhil is already the state president of the JD(S) youth wing.

Nikhil’s presser

“In the coming days, I will be more involved in the organization of the JD(S). Politics is a significant responsibility, and managing a regional party is also substantial duty,” he told the media in Bengaluru on Thursday (June 13).

“In future, I will place greater emphasis on organizing the party,” he added.

Asked if he would become the state president of the JD(S), he said the decision will be taken by senior leaders HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy — his grandfather and father respectively.

Family saga

However, his statements and demeanour suggest he is likely to take control of the party.

There is now less competition within the family. Earlier, his uncle HD Revanna, the latter’s wife Bhavani Revanna, and their son Prajwal Revanna, who lost the Hassan seat this Lok Sabha election, were competitors within the family.

But this issue has been more or less settled after Prajwal’s arrest on charges of raping multiple women. The former MP has denied the charges.

New leadership

The Gowda family’s hold over the party for three long decades was shaken after the Prajwal scandal because of which it is unlikely for the Revanna family to handle party responsibilities anytime soon.

Reliable sources indicate the party leadership is likely to remain within the family. The legislative party leadership may be entrusted to senior leaders like GT Devegowda or Srinivasapur MLA Venkateshwar Reddy.

This suggests a near-certain transfer of party leadership to the third generation of the Gowda family.

Rising Nikhil

As part of this transition, Nikhil has taken a prominent role in party activities.

With HD Kumaraswamy visiting Karnataka for the first time as a central minister, Nikhil has organized a press conference to outline the party’s upcoming programmes and political battles.

The noticeable absence of senior leaders at the media meeting hints at the family’s clear message about a leadership transfer.

Party’s expansion

Although Nikhil deferred leadership questions to senior leaders, his event indirectly answered the issue.

JD(S) sources admit that it is essential to consider leaders from communities other than Gowdas and Vokkaligas if the party has to expand its base in Karnataka.

By winning two out of three Lok Sabha seats it contested, the JD (S) has revived its political fortunes. Moreover, HD Kumaraswamy becoming a Union minister has given renewed vigour to local leaders and party workers.

Victories boost JD(S)

Since the party came to power in the 1990s, the Gowda family, led by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, has been central to the party’s authority and decision-making. The Prajwal scandal threatened the party’s very existence.

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the decision by party leaders to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contest as part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also raised concerns about its political future within the party.

Nevertheless, the party’s success in the Lok Sabha battle has alleviated these worries, helping it regain its momentum. The significant victories in Mandya and Kolar have raised new hopes among the party faithful.

Father and son

With HD Kumaraswamy now a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, the question of who will take the party’s reins and the leadership of the legislative party in Karnataka has emerged.

Kumaraswamy, as a central minister, cannot effectively manage the party organization in Karnataka, necessitating the appointment of a new party president. This is where his ambitious son Nikhil Kumaraswamy may step in.

Read More
Next Story