Kept out of the cabinet on grounds of court cases against him pertaining to illegal mining, Kumar had maintained a low profile. Entry into the cabinet should become easy with four vacancies yet to be filled.
When the bypolls were announced, the Congress was scouting around for a strong candidate to take on former PM HD Deve Gowda’s family and zeroed in on Kumar’s brother DK Suresh Kumar. There were two reasons: One, Kumar represented Kanakapura assembly constituency which is part of Bangalore Rural, and two, Kumar’s longstanding political feud with the Gowda family.
The Gowdas and Kumars have been calling the shots in Bangalore Rural, a Vokkaliga belt. Both have had their share of political ups and downs. This is the second time Kumar has defeated a member of the Gowda family.
In 1999, he had defeated former CM HD Kumaraswamy from Sathanur (prior to delimitation) in 1985.
Kumar was defeated by Gowda from the same constituency and now his brother trounced Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha. In 2002, Gowda had defeated Kumar in bypolls to the Kanakapura Lok Sabha constituency.
According to Congress functionary Milind Dharmasena, “The party’s victory in Bangalore Rural has proved that Kumar has replaced Gowda as the supreme leader of Vokkaligas in old Mysore region. The victory is an indicator that he can win elections under any circumstances.”
These elections were another round for both to establish their supremacy over the constituency. “The usual caste politics of JD(S) did not yield results,” said BS Shivanna, another Congress member.