JD(S) in crisis: Kumaraswamy dismisses rebellion; challenges Karnataka chief Ibrahim’s ‘original’ declaration

Kumaraswamy dismissed Ibrahim's comments and challenged him to display his authenticity by putting up a sign proclaiming his originality.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Oct 17, 2023 | 8:32 PMUpdatedOct 17, 2023 | 8:32 PM

Karnataka CM Ibrahim JDS HD Deve Gowda HD Kumaraswamy

The internal strife in the JD(S) in Karnataka escalated with former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy responding with disdain to the rebellion led by the state unit president CM Ibrahim, hours after the latter’s statement on Monday, 16 October.

The simmering rift, following the announcement of the JD(S) alliance with the BJP in the state, reached a new level when Ibrahim declared himself the “original JD(S)” and vehemently opposed any alliance with the saffron party on Monday.

Unfazed by Ibrahim’s statements, Kumaraswamy dismissed them as inconsequential and challenged him to display his authenticity by putting up a sign proclaiming his original status.

The escalating tension between the two party leaders reflects a deepening divide within the JD(S), leaving the party at a critical crossroads as it grapples with internal dissent and the prospect of aligning with the BJP.

Several MLAs including Chamundeshwari MLA GT Devegowda hit out at Ibrahim following the allegation that the latter was not taken into confidence while deciding on aligning with the BJP-led-NDA.

Amid all these political developments, a fake letter about CM Ibrahim expelling Kumaraswamy and his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy from the party went viral. However, Ibrahim himself was quick to clear the air by filing a police complaint for alleged forging of his official letterhead.

Related: CM Ibrahim rejects JD(S) pact with BJP, supports INDIA bloc

Kumaraswamy hits out Ibrahim

Kumaraswamy, who is the JD(S) legislature party leader, had reiterated that “he will not consider Ibrahim’s statements seriously”.

Addressing a meeting of party leaders convened by him on Monday, Kumaraswamy responded to statements made by Ibrahim, asserting his commitment to the party.

In a dismissive tone, Kumaraswamy quashed any notion of his departure from the party, emphasising his status as the “original JD(S)”.

“If his (Ibrahim’s) party is original, then let him put up a board that he is the original one. Who has stopped him? Let him do whatever he wants. He is free to do it. It is left to him,” remarked Kumaraswamy, displaying a nonchalant attitude towards Ibrahim’s assertions.

Seemingly perturbed by the subject, Kumaraswamy expressed his disinterest in entertaining such matters.

“Why should I take his (Ibrahim’s) statements seriously? Please don’t discuss silly things with me. This is not a matter to be answered,” Kumaraswamy refused to comment further on the unprecedented developments within the party.

“Our party leaders will make a decision. We will set right whatever is needed,” he added, underscoring his confidence in the party’s internal mechanisms to address any concerns.

Also read: War of words erupts between Congress, BJP after IT raids in Karnataka

MLAs object to Ibrahim’s stance

In an unexpected turn of events within the JD(S), some party MLAs voiced their dissent against the state party president Ibrahim’s strategic stance.

The objection centres around Ibrahim’s controversial decision to sideline the JD(S) stalwart and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, coupled with the disapproval of Kumaraswamy’s choice to align the party with the NDA and extend support to the INDIA bloc.

This internal turmoil unveils a complex tapestry of conflicting perspectives within the party, as several MLAs stand in opposition to the unfolding alliance dynamics.

In the aftermath of the May Assembly elections, the JD(S) faced challenges with a poor performance that saw it secure only 19 out of 224 Assembly seats.

Shedding light on the internal affairs of the party, senior JD(S) MLA and former minister GT Deve Gowda revealed a sequence of events involving party leader Ibrahim.

Speaking about Ibrahim’s commitment to the party despite the disappointing election outcome, GT Deve Gowda disclosed: “Soon after the May Assembly elections, in which the party put up a poor performance bagging only 19 seats in the 224-member House, Ibrahim had submitted his resignation to HD Deve Gowda taking moral responsibility for the dismal show, but the party national president had asked him to continue.”

‘Ibrahim was present in the meeting’

Providing further insight into the decision-making process within the party, GT Deve Gowda pointed out: “Ibrahim was present in a meeting where it was unanimously decided to join hands with the BJP and become part of the NDA.”

Taking a jibe at Ibrahim, Mulbagal MLA Samruddhi Manjunath told reporters on Tuesday, “Despite JD(S) securing 19 seats, we find ourselves in distress. Therefore, the convening of a meeting by Ibrahim and the issuance of statements in such a situation is not appropriate.”

“No decisions have been taken without consulting Ibrahim. On another occasion, I will have to express my views, but the high command has not granted permission. It’s crucial to understand the predicament of the MLAs,” Manjunath emphasised.

Further addressing the party’s performance in the Assembly polls, Manjunath stated, “Due to the party’s subpar showing, Nikhil Kumaraswamy took moral responsibility and resigned from the youth wing.”

Taking a swipe at Ibrahim’s leadership, Manjunath questioned, “Who appointed Ibrahim as the state president? Ibrahim, who declared intentions to remove Kumaraswamy from the party, should first introspect,” said MLA Manjunath.

Also read: Siddaramaiah dismisses BJP allegations on Congress high command 

Ibrahim files complaint 

After a fake letter on CM Ibrahim’s official letterhead — expelling Kumaraswamy and his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy from the party — he registered a complaint before Bengaluru’s JC Nagar Police Station on Tuesday evening.

In the complaint, Ibrahim alleged: “It has come to my notice that a letter dated 17th October 2023 in my official letterhead with my signature has been addressed to all electronic/print media, stating that I have expelled former CM and MLA HD Kumaraswamy and JD(S) youth wing chief Nikhil Kumaraswamy from the party.”

“This letter has been forwarded to all the print and electronic media and is being widely circulated in all social groups which has caused a lot of embarrassment to me and all the party office bearers,” Ibrahim said, confirming that it was a fake letter.

“This letter is being circulated by some mischief mongers to create unrest among the entire party cadre. Those who are responsible for creating this type of fake letters and causing damage to my reputation should not go unpunished,” Ibrahim urged for stringent action against the culprits for spreading fake letters on social media.