‘Political assassination’: Kumaraswamy condemns death of vice president of Karnataka legislative council
JDS leader and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy condemned the death of the vice chairman of the Karnataka legislative council, SL Dharmegowda, on Tuesday, calling it “political murder”.
He said, “He was more than a brother to me. He was very hurt by the way some members treated him during the recent council proceedings and he felt humiliated. It is not a suicide, but a political murder ”.
Kumaraswamy was referring to a recent one-day council session in which the BJP and JDS teamed up to try to remove the chairman of the legislative council, Prathapchandra Shetty, who belongs to Congress, by filing a vote of no confidence. Dharmegowda tried to preside over the proceedings, but was mistreated by some members of Congress and Shetty later rejected the motion, citing procedural lapses.
Dharmegowda’s body was recovered from a railway in the Gunasagar village of Kadur Taluk in Chikmagalur district in the early hours of Tuesday, state police said.
Gowda, 65, is believed to have committed suicide. Police are examining an alleged death note found near his body. According to law enforcement sources, Gowda had asked his officer and bodyguard to leave him alone on Monday night. He had left his home in Shakarayapatna in an old Santro personal car with his driver and arrived in Gunasagar around 6 pm. He then asked his driver Dharmaraj to leave him alone and wait at a distance as he had to meet someone.
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His last call is said to have been to a friend named Hemant and he is said to have asked questions about train times. When Gowda did not return home even late at night, concerned family members are said to have alerted authorities who organized a search. By then, his cell phone was off, but based on the latest signals from his cell phone, they searched and located his body on the Mankenahalli train track.
The police sent the body for autopsy to McGann Hospital in Shivamogga and it was later buried at the Madagadakere farm that the family owns in Shakaryapatna. The JD (S) MLC is said to have been distraught over the way he was treated by some members during the recent chaos in the council when he was mistreated.
Prime Minister BS Yediyurappa, the opposition leader in the Siddaramiah assembly, KPCC Chairman DK Shivakumar, and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda were among other leaders who expressed shock and condolences at Dharmegowda’s death.
The opposition leader in the assembly, Siddaramiah, rejected Kumaraswamy’s accusations and said: ‘He was a personal friend of mine. His father Lakshmaiah, who was a legislator, was well known to me and the whole family was close to me. You have to look at who forced him to sit (in the chair of the president of the council) ”.
CM Yediyurappa also mourned death and flew to Kadur to pay his last respects. “The entire state is shocked by the disappearance. I ask God to give his family strength to face this, ”he said.
Former Prime Minister Deve Gowda broke down when talking about Dharmegowda, saying: “It is shocking to hear the news of the suicide of the vice chairman of the state legislative council and leader of JDS, SL Dharmegowda. He was a quiet and decent man. This is a loss of state. “
Finance Minister R Ashoka also blamed opposition behavior towards Dharmegowda for his extreme step. “I have been told that you have mentioned this incident of what happened recently in the City Hall in the note that has been recovered. We will find out once the full investigation is completed. “
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A close associate of JDS HD frontman Kumaraswamy, Gowda came from an influential in-laws. His father, SR Lakshmaiah, was a three-time MLA from the Birur assembly constituency and Gowda himself had been elected there in 2004. Gowda’s brother, SL Bhojegowda, is also an MLC.
Speaking to HT Bhojegowda, he said: “There were no personal or financial reasons for him to take this extreme step. He was upset about what had happened (at the council). I and other party leaders had told him not to take things seriously, as they are common in politics, but he seemed to have taken it very seriously. The police have not released the content of the alleged death note. A case has been registered at the Ariskere police station and senior police officials said more investigations are underway.