HD Kumaraswamy: Journey from a rebel to Chief Minister of Karnataka

In the run up to the Assembly elections, the 58-year-old Vokkaliga leader was touted to play a kingmaker in Karnataka.

HD Kumaraswamy: Journey from a rebel to Chief Minister of Karnataka

It is a crucial day for Hardanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy, the Janata Dal Secular leader who became the Chief Minister of Karnataka with the support of the Congress after the previous Assembly elections in the state. His government in the state faces a trust vote on the floor of the House on Wednesday.

In the run up to the Assembly elections, the 58-year-old Vokkaliga leader was touted to play a kingmaker in the state, but little did anyone expect that he would be crowned as the Chief Minister.

Kumaraswamy, the third son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, had been on the margins of Karnataka politics for over a decade before becoming the Chief Minister. Though he managed to clinch the position in 2018 from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yeddyurappa, the most crucial phase came for him when 15 MLAs of the Congress-JDS combine rebelled.

The political journey of Kumaraswamy has been full of ups and downs. Having grown up in a political environment, Kumaraswamy made his debut in 1996 by contesting and winning the Kanakpura Lok Sabha seat. However, he ended up losing both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in his next attempt.

In 2004, he managed to enter the Karnataka Vidhana Soudha when the JDS got into a coalition with the Congress, which was then headed by Dharm Singh. The alliance at that time did not last long as Kumaraswamy rebelled and walked out of the coalition with his 42 MLAs in 2006.

Against the wishes of his father, HD Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy entered into an alliance with the BJP and became the Chief Minister of the state for the first time. A rotational Chief Ministership was agreed upon and as per the deal, Kumaraswamy retained the chair for a period of 20 months. But when it was the time to pass the baton to BS Yeddyurappa, he rebelled yet again and toppled the government within seven days.

This move by the JDS leader did not go down well with the people of Karnataka as in the Assembly election that followed, the BJP was given the mandate to form government on its own. Thereby, Karnataka became the first state in southern part of the country to turn saffron.

It is now to be seen if the history would repeat itself in Karnataka or will Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JDS government would manage to sail through the crisis stirred by the rebel leaders.

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