Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister and JD(S) national president HD Deve Gowda launched his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy into politics by declaring him as the party’s candidate for Mandya Lok Sabha seat.

In a grand event held at the Silver Jubilee Park in Mandya on Thursday, Gowda said he consulted all the eight Mandya legislators and only then proposed Nikhil’s name.

In his over 30-minute speech, Gowda batted for Nikhil, the son of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, and justified his candidacy.

"Nikhil became active after his father Kumaraswamy underwent second heart operation and I saw him giving hopes to his father about strengthening the party during those times, hence I did not object to his candidacy," said Gowda.

He appealed to Mandya public to help Nikhil win the election.

Minority appeasement on stage

Realising that the minorities had not sided with the JD(S) last time, Gowda used his old trick of appeasing the minorities. He said during his tenure of 10 and half months as Prime Minister, there were rules not to give any representation to the Muslims in the Army but changed it.

On people’s perception of JD(S) being ‘family party’

Gowda said he did not float the JD(S) for his son or grandsons and reminded that leaders like former chief minister Siddaramaiah, CM Ibrahim, HC Mahadevappa and others were all in the JD(S).

"The Congress and JD(S) share common roots. We should fight and defeat the BJP. Wherever the Congress leaders call me to campaign, I will go and we will also take their help. Our aim is to ensure that the BJP should be reduced to single digit in the state," Gowda said.

Congress denied chief minister’s position to Kharge

On Kumaraswamy being made as the chief minister, Gowda said he was not in the favour of the decision as Kumaraswamy had got only 38 seats and it was the Congress that proposed his son’s name.

"I proposed the name of Mallikarjun  Kharge but the Congress leaders in the state did not agree and wanted Kumaraswamy as CM," he disclosed.

Outsider has proposed Nikhil Kumaraswamy's name as MP candidate from Mandya

Kumaraswamy, who was also present at the event, clarified to the Mandya voters that he was upset over him being trolled on social media. He said that none from his family had proposed Nikhil's name but it was Srirangapatna MLA Srikanthaiah who has backed him.

Kumaraswamy said that his family will never forget the people of Mandya. He appealed to the voters to bless his son with victory.

In fact, Kumaraswamy, in his Budget this year, had announced over Rs 8,000 crore development projects and also proposed to open sugar mills.

Appeasing Ambareesh fans

Taking the opportunity to appease the fans of late actor-politician Ambareesh, who are at loggerheads with the JD(S), he said it was his son Nikhil who gave him the news about the death of Ambareesh and said for him Nikhil and Ambareesh’s son Abhishek are the same.

"I am also Ambareesh’s fan and I am like his younger brother. I was in shock over his death and when people objected for taking Ambareesh’s body to Mandya for darshan, I did not bother and took a defence helicopter to shift the body to Mandya and again brought back to Bengaluru for cremation. I did not do this as the chief minister but as a fan and younger brother to Ambareesh. The people do not know my bonding with Ambareesh," said Kumaraswamy.

During the event, Kumaraswamy also said that he will make Lakshmi Ashwin Gowda as MLC as she was denied both MLA and MP tickets.