27 February, 2021

Provoked By The Protege

Siddaramaiah’s sustained attacks have led the JD(S) to retaliate, says Deve Gowda in the run-up to polls

B Form
H.D. Kumaraswamy (second from left) files nomination
Photograph by PTI
Provoked By The Protege

As dusk sets in, a small group of MLA-hopefuls from the Janata Dal (Secular) waits patiently in the entrance hall at boss H.D. Deve Gowda’s residence in Bangalore. They have to collect their ‘B forms’—that’s the nomination paper. Tradition has it that the document, after being blessed at a temple, will be handed over to them personally by the party patriarch.

Two floors up the wood-panelled spiral staircase, 85-year-old Gowda sits on a chair in his bedroom, opposite a coffee table with a buzzer close at hand. There’s a Kannada news channel playing on low volume on the television, as partymen and visitors are let in one by one. “Today, if I go to bed early, that’s my good fortune,” says the veteran who’s keeping everybody guessing in an assembly election where the signs haven’t been easy to read.

The JD(S) isn’t making things any easier. Even if it is, the 1999-founded party is a shadow of what it once was, observers reckon. In southern Karnataka’s Old Mysore region, the BJP hasn’t...

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