The leadership of the Janata Dal (Secular) party in Karnataka has expressed satisfaction with the grant of the industries portfolio to former chief minister. HD Kumaraswamy in the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite initially favoring the agriculture ministry.

Kumaraswamy and his father, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, both expressed satisfaction with the allocation of the steel and heavy industries ministry.

The JDS had been hoping for a prominent portfolio in the wake of its contribution to the victories of the BJP and JD(S) candidates in southern Karnataka in the Lok Sabha polls.

Kumaraswamy, who had earlier indicated that the agriculture portfolio would suit the JD(S) best as it is a farmers’ party, welcomed the offer to the party’s lone cabinet minister in the NDA government.

HD Kumaraswamy takes oath as a Cabinet minister at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Union government.  (PTI) HD Kumaraswamy takes oath as a Cabinet minister at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Union government. (PTI)

“The Prime Minister has trusted me and given me an important portfolio. I believe the development of the country depends significantly on this department,” Kumaraswamy said.

Festive offer

The former CM, who had waived off farm loans in 2019 as the Karnataka Chief Minister while being in a coalition with the Congress, said the industries ministry provides the opportunity to create jobs for youths in the country.

“Managing such a significant department effectively is important. Providing employment opportunities for the youth should be a priority. I plan to prepare a vision document for this department within the next 15 days,” he said Monday after the portfolio allocations.

The former CM said the JD(S) party and Gowda had “bounced back” through the Lok Sabha polls and that “those who said Deve Gowda’s political career was over have now been proven wrong”. “Our party has gained renewed strength,” he said.

Gowda, 92, who could not attend the swearing in ceremony of his son due to his frail health but wrote a letter to PM Modi thanking him for inducting Kumaraswamy into the union cabinet.

“The elections have thrown up interesting results. It proves the vibrancy of Indian democracy,” Gowda said in his letter to the PM this week.

“The Congress party assumes they have done better this time, but the fact is that in states they run themselves, like Karnataka, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh, they have floundered. They have done relatively well in some other states because of the courtesy of their allies. Let us see how long their allies will tolerate them,” Gowda’s letter stated.

“I again reiterate the full support of my party, Janata Dal (Secular), to the National Democratic Alliance government. As a member of the NDA we look forward to working with you and helping you deliver your agenda of ‘Sab Ka Sath Sabka Vikas’ (development for all),” he said.

“I also take this opportunity to thank you on this occasion for offering a cabinet position to our party. I will ensure that our minister will serve the coalition and the people of India with total commitment,” Deve Gowda stated.

“PM Shri @narendramodi Avaru called me to share his thoughts and ideas on the new government. He inquired after my health too. I am grateful for his care and concern. His warmth made me emotional,” Gowda said on social media on Monday.

Considered down and out after the 2023 Karnataka assembly polls where it won only 19 seats and saw its vote share plummet from 18 per cent to 13 per cent as the Congress party grabbed majority of the seats in the traditional JD(S) stronghold of south Karnataka. , the JD(S) has made a remarkable comeback in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls on the back of an alliance with the BJP.

Despite the controversy surrounding its Hassan candidate and Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna – over alleged incidents of sexual assault on women – the JD(S) has made big political gains as a regional party in Karnataka within a span of a year of its massive loss in the assembly polls.

The strategic decision to join the BJP-led NDA alliance, after being rejected by the Congress for the INDIA alliance, has paid dividends for the JDS and has re-established the credentials of Gowda and Kumaraswamy as the foremost leaders of the dominant Vokkaliga community in South Karnataka.

The position of the JDS, Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy as the leaders of the Vokkaliga community was challenged by Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar after the 2023 Congress win in 39 (compared to 17 in 2018) of the 61 Old Mysore assembly seats spanning the Vokkaliga belt. even as the JD(S) managed only 14 seats (compared to 27 in 2018).

Realizing that it was losing ground to the Congress in a three way fight in the region with the BJP, the JDS forged an alliance with the saffron party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls on the basis of a good relationship between PM Modi and Gowda.

The combined strength of the BJP and JD(S) has resulted in the NDA winning 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in south Karnataka with the Congress managing to win only the controversial Hassan seat – the Gowda family borough, and the SC reserved Chamarajanagar seat. .