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August 21, 1999
The Rediff Election Specials/ M D Riti
The Sons Also Rise in Karnataka
Over the past few years, more and more political progeny have entered the electoral fray in Karnataka. rediff.com glances at this phenomenon:
Dinesh Gundu Rao, the second son of the late chief minister R Gundu Rao, who was appointed state Youth Congress chief last year, will make his electoral debut in the Shivajinagar assembly constituency of Bangalore.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has put up K Subramanya Naidu against him, but Rao is viewed as the stronger candidate. He has been working in Shivajinagar, which has a sizeable Muslim population, for some years now.
His mother Varalakshmi, with whom Dinesh, his Muslim wife Tabu and daughter Ananya now live, contested the general election three years ago and lost by about 20,000 votes to Civil Aviation Minister Ananth Kumar. Rao is a qualified electronics engineer.
H D Revanna, H D Deve Gowda's second son, will contest from his father's party for the Holenarasipur assembly seat in Hassan district. Revanna is the sitting MLA, and has just completed his first term in the legislature.
Although Revanna was only a minister in J H Patel's Janata Dal regime, he lives in the huge government bungalow, Anugraha, which was until now reserved for the Karnataka chief minister. Anugraha was allotted to him ostensibly for his father's use, when Deve Gowda was prime minister.
H D Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda's third son, will contest the Kanakapura assembly seat from his father's party. This is why rivals quip that this faction of the Dal should be re-christened Deve Gowda and sons! Kumaraswamy organised his father's assembly campaign from that same area five years ago, and Deve Gowda won: that was the first time he came into public view.
Kumaranna, as he is known in Karnataka, was known to function as a kind of front office for his father when Deve Gowda was prime minister in Delhi two years ago, and also contested the parliamentary election successfully two years ago from the same region.
Kailashnath Patil, the late Congress chief minister Veerendra Patil's son, will stand on a Congress ticket from the family borough, Chincholi in Gulbarga, even though he lost the same seat in the 1994 assembly election, and despite the Congress' avowed policy of not giving tickets to losers.
His brother-in-law, Dr B G Javali, an ex-MP, has been denied a ticket this time by the Congress. Patil runs a printing press in Bangalore, and is viewed as an appropriate candidate by the powerful Lingayat community.
Vasant Kumar Bangarappa, the older son of former Congress chief minister S Bangarappa, will contest his father's assembly constituency, Sorab in Shimoga, on a Congress ticket. Kumar -- as he is known in film circles -- is the sitting MLA. He was elected with a better margin than his father ever got three years ago, in a by-election caused by his father vacating that seat to go to Parliament.
Kumar has been a Kannada movie actor for over a decade now, but not a spectacularly successful one. He has acted in over a dozen movies so far including one in English, a martial arts film called Blue Crystal made by a Hong Kong producer.
He admits readily that he knew nothing of politics at that time, but now professes to have gained much more political experience, and is equipped to function effectively.
Other political heirs still actively on the horizon:
Khader Nawaz Sharief: Former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief's son, he is active in Congress politics in Karnataka. He filed his nomination for the 1996 Lok Sabha election, at his father's behest. Jaffer Sharief was annoyed with the Congress then for denying him a ticket. He withdrew his nomination when his father made up with the Congress.
Trishul Patel: Chief Minister J H Patel's eldest son may have made his political debut now if his father had not been in such an ambivalent position himself. Trishul is a Bangalore-based businessman who tried unsuccessfully for a ticket for the Bangalore city corporation elections some time ago.
Chandraprabha Urs: Former MP and daughter of former chief minister D Devraj Urs. She defeated Srikantadatta Wadiyar, the former maharaja of Mysore in the 1991 general election, but lost the 1994 assembly election.
Dr S J Mahipal: Son of former Union minister Basavarajeswari, he was defeated from her constituency, Bellary, in the 1994 assembly election. Now lives and practises as a doctor in Bellary.
Omprakash Kanagali: Ex-MLC and son of former Union minister B Shankaranand, he contested the 1994 assembly election unsuccessfully from his father's constituency, Chikkodi.
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