Hardanahalli Deve Gowda Kumaraswamy is the current chief minister of Karnataka in the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government. He is the son of former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda. This is in his second term as the CM of the southern state.
Kumaraswamy wasn't interested in politics at first and wanted to join the Kannada film industry. However, he entered politics during the 1996 Lok Sabha elections and was elected from Kanakpura parliamentary constituency to the 11th Lok Sabha. Kumaraswamy called for a re-election in 1998, where he lost to Congressman M V Chandrashekara Murthy. The defeat he faced was so huge that his deposit was forfeited.
He again contested unsuccessfully for the Sathanur Assembly seat in 1999. In 2004, he was elected to represent the Ramanagara Assembly segment. When the 2004 state elections resulted in a hung Assembly with no party getting enough seats to form a government, the Indian National Congress and JD(S) decided to form a coalition government.
Known for his adaptability and friendly nature, Dharam Singh of the Congress was the unanimous choice of both parties to head the government, and Singh was sworn in as the chief minister. Later, however, 42 JD(S) MLAs under Kumaraswamy's leadership left the coalition and the government collapsed. In January 2006, the Karnataka Governor invited Kumaraswamy to form the government in the state after the Congress government led by Dharam Singh resigned.
He was the chief minister of Karnataka from 4 February 2006 to 9 October 2007 in his first term.
After the 2019 Karnataka Assembly elections, Kumaraswamy returned to the CM’s seat and JD(S) and Congress together mustered the numbers needed to form the state government.
Kumaraswamy has kept the flock together in the Karnataka legislature with great difficulty. Now and then, he has accused the BJP of trying to topple his government by horse-trading MLAs. The JD(S) has been saved from a political death knell with the formation of the government. But if the party is to stay relevant, Kumaraswamy will have to shore up the party's decreasing political capital in the electorate. How he manages to do so, with the Congress by his side, will be keenly watched. The Lok Sabha elections 2019 could offer a clue to the future course Deve Gowda's party and political heir will take.