Less than a year after leading the Congress and JD(S) in a bitter electoral battle for Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency in Mysuru during the Assembly elections of May 2018, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister for Higher Education G.T. Deve Gowda were touring the constituency and jointly addressing a series of public meetings for a common cause – to defeat the BJP in Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency.
At their public meeting at Sri Kalibeerammanavara Temple in Kadakola on the Mysuru-Nanjangud highway in the constituency on Sunday, the sworn enemies of last year’s Assembly elections not only exchanged pleasantries and shook hands, but also displayed a kind of camaraderie unseen in the last 13 years.
One-time political confidantes Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Gowda had parted ways in 2006 after the former quit JD(S) and joined the Congress. Their supporters too followed their respective leaders and joined rival camps.
The State-level alliance between Congress and JD(S), both traditional rivals in Mysuru, has brought Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Gowda together in an effort to unite their respective followers and achieve the common objective of the coalition to script its candidate C.H. Vijayshankar’s victory.
“Please put your differences aside, however petty or serious they are. We are together now. The Congress has extended support to make our leader H.D. Kumaraswamy Chief Minister. I have become a Minister because of the support of the Congress,” Mr. Gowda told the gathering and went to the extent of accepting that they (leaders) had erred in fighting with each other.
Mr. Siddaramaiah referred to his friendship with Mr. Gowda turning into political rivalry, which had even led to the latter defeating the former in Chamundeshwari Assembly elections last year. “Though Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda and I had fought against each other, I don’t think we fought as much as you (the supporters) have fought with each other,” Mr. Siddaramaiah remarked on the skirmishes between JD(S) and Congress supporters during various elections including local bodies.
After their joint campaign at Kadakola, the two leaders held similar public meetings in different parts of Chamundeshwari Assembly segment in Jayapura, Yelwal and Siddalingapura in favour of Mr. Vijayshankar.
A joint campaign was taken up to douse the resentment among JD(S) supporters over backing Mr. Vijayshankar, who is not only the Congress candidate, but also a Kuruba.