Janata Dal (Secular) national president H D Deve Gowda is rolling his dice carefully while picking the disgruntled leaders of other parties to the party fold. He has not allowed his son H D Kumaraswamy to do the calculations this time around.
On Friday, he got back Mahima Patel, son of late chief minister J H Patel, into the party and fielded him in Davangere. Gowda went to Mahima’s house in Dollars Colony as soon as he returned from Arasikere.
Gowda had not extended this generosity to any other politician who switched loyalty to the party in the recent months. Such gesture comes because Gowda had a long association with J H Patel. When Gowda became the prime minister, he anointed Patel as the chief minister. Later, Gowda said he has secured the blessings of Sarvamangala, wife of late J H Patel, to take Mahima into JD(S). “I will soon hand over the mantle to youngsters like Kumaraswamy and J H Patel’s son. I will distance myself from active politics,” he said.
The Jr Patel is surely not a heavyweight politician. But in Davangere, his late father is still a revered leader. Also, getting a Lingayat man of a reputed political family is seen as a plus point for the JD(S), which is perceived predominantly a Vokkaliga party.
Mahima had successfully contested on the JD(S) ticket in 2004 from Channagiri Assembly seat. Later, he moved out of the party and floated Suvarna Yuga Party. He failed to win in the 2008 Assembly polls. Later, he switched over to the Congress. “I am coming back to practical politics and hope to secure a win from Davangere,” he said. Mahima tried to secure Congress ticket.
While getting Jaffer Sharief to the JD(S) is seen as a strategy to win over Muslims, making Mahima to be the candidate in the Lingayat heartland is seen as a move to send a message to the community that the party is not against them. Gowda has already made A Krishnappa, a Yadava (Golla) the party president. He was denied ticket by the Congress during the last assembly polls. Now he is the JD(S) candidate from Tumkur.
In Haveri, Gowda has strategically chosen a Lingayat to be the candidate. Former MP Menasinkai’s son Ravi Menasinkai is being fielded here, which has a considerable Lingayat voting population.