As Janata Dal (S) patriarch , H.D. Deve Gowda turned 84 on Wednesday, he received the most enthusiastic reception from young leaders of the party, who are banking on him to lead them into the 2018 assembly polls. His partymen gathered at HAL airport in Bengaluru to receive him on his ritual visit to Tirupati, greeting him with a huge birthday cake, cheering and lining the streets as his cavalcade sped home
As Janata Dal (S) patriarch, H.D. Deve Gowda turned 84 on Wednesday, he received the most enthusiastic reception from young leaders of the party, who are banking to him to lead them into the 2018 assembly polls unlike the old timers and dissidents who maintained a safe distance from the festivities.
Unlike previous years, the younger leaders, who have been gaining prominence of late, had planned a series of events to mark the octogenarian leader’s birthday, but had to be content with organizing only a couple of functions, including the one near his house in Padmanabhanagar.
The young JD(S) workers wanted to make a show of the birthday celebration to lay the groundwork for the coming assembly poll, which they believe will see the Congress ousted from power, leaving the field wide open for opposition parties, say sources.
They expect a repetition of the 2004 election results, which saw the BJP sweep North Karnataka and the JD(S), the Old Mysore region. Hoping to contest the election they had planned to impress their leaders by going all out to celebrate Mr Gowda’s birthday, reveal sources.
“As the state will go into election mode from next year, these young leaders are doing the ground work to establish themselves,” say party insiders. But senior leaders of the party, who have a fair idea of how things work in the JDS, are not keen on getting too close to the veteran leader and his family members and so were nowhere near him on his birthday.
Even at 1.30 pm, sitting MLAs, including Mr Y S V Datta, and dissidents like N Cheluvarayaswamy, Zameer Ahamed Khan and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy were in Vidhana Soudha, attending to their constituency work. “These senior leaders will probably only wish him on his birthday and keep a safe distance,” add sources.
Like every year, Mr Gowda went to Tirupati for a darshan on the eve of his birthday, but the heavy rain on Wednesday delayed his departure by two hours, letting him have two darshans of the deity. His partymen were in the process left waiting from 11 am to 1 pm at HAL airport to receive him.