Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the President of the Janata Dal (S) youth wing in Karnataka, submitted his resignation letter on May 25 and took moral ownership of the party’s poor performance in the recent Assembly elections.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy is the grandson of party supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. He himself lost the Ramanagara seat in the 2023 Karnataka elections to Congress’ HA Iqbal Hussain. Earlier, his mother, Anitha Kumaraswamy, used to represent the Ramanagara seat in 2018.
The Ramanagara seat was the stronghold of the Kumaraswamy family, and their grandson’s defeat was shocking. This seat was represented by HD Deve Gowda when he became the Chief Minister in 1994. Later, former Karnataka’s CM HD Kumaraswamy trepresented it in the 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018 state assembly elections.
Even the State president of the JD(S), C M Ibrahim, tendered his resignation to the party’s senior leadership. Both JD(S) leaders took responsibility for the party’s defeat.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy said his resignation had opened new opportunities for the party to “restructure” and “rebuild”. He wrote, “The result of (the) Karnataka Assembly election has left me very sad, but it has opened many possibilities for rebuilding the party. As the President of Karnataka Pradesh Yuva Janata Dal (Secular) unit, I have performed my duties to the best of my ability under the guidance of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and ex-chief minister HD Kumaraswamy”.
The young leader stated he “worked hard to organise the party” and the “defeat is not final”. He is looking forward to the resignation and an opportunity to learn and rebuild.
He added, “After the defeat, we all have to perform our duty with a spirit of dedication and allow new leadership in the direction of building the party strong. In this regard, I am resigning as the President of the Janata Dal youth wing. The party has agreed to my decision, and together, we are (moving) in the direction of strengthening the party by enabling the new leadership”.
Janta Dal (S) just won 19 seats out of the state’s 224 Assembly constituencies. It is reported to be its worst performance since its formation in 1999. Additionally, the party did poorly in Old Mysore in its Vokkaliga bastion.
The regional party secured 37 seats in the previous 2018 elections. This time JD(S) could not even maintain its previous numbers.