Prajwal Revanna ‘sex scandal’ | For embattled JD(S), allegation makes the divide in family stark

JD(S) State president and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has distanced himself from the scandal involving the son of his brother

April 29, 2024 01:32 pm | Updated April 30, 2024 01:14 am IST - Bengaluru

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda (seated) with elder son H.D. Revanna, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, younger son H.D. Kumaraswamy, and grandson Prajwal Revanna who is the MP in Hassan.

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda (seated) with elder son H.D. Revanna, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, younger son H.D. Kumaraswamy, and grandson Prajwal Revanna who is the MP in Hassan. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For an embattled Janata Dal (Secular), which has been struggling to retain its identity and relevance in Karnataka politics, the alleged sex scandal involving its incumbent MP in Hassan Prajwal Revanna has come as a new blow.

It has not only embarrassed the party and the family of the party’s patriarch, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, but is also likely to strain relationships in the family that could trickle down in the party too.

Since Sunday, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has been trying to distance himself from the family of his elder brother H.D. Revanna who, along with his son, has been named in one of the complaints now being probed by the SIT.

While on Monday Mr. Revanna claimed that the whole episode was a sabotage aimed at tarnishing the image of the former Prime Minister’s family, Mr. Kumaraswamy made no bones about distancing himself and his father from the scandal. “It is not about the family. We have been living separately and we do not have any common business. We participate together in political forums. What is the relationship of either me or my father with this?” he asked in Shivamogga.

Further, he appealed: “I want to clarify to the mothers and sisters not to suspect either me or my father (in this case). If found guilty, we will raise our voices on behalf of women seeking punishment to the accused.”

Despite being the pan-Karnataka face of the JD(S), Mr. Kumaraswamy has avoided interfering in the party’s affairs in Hassan as his elder brother is in full control in that area. It was only during the last Assembly elections that the friction between the families of Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Revanna came out into the open over the selection of a candidate for Hassan Assembly constituency, when Bhavani Revanna, mother of Mr. Prajwal, insisted on contesting.

Hushed discussions

There had been a talk about the existence of sex videos allegedly involving the MP for nearly a year, and a BJP leader had made this public during a media conference. Mr. Prajwal had got an injunction order from a court to prevent media publications from airing or publishing the contents.

While Mr. Kumaraswamy on Monday claimed that the embarrassment could have been avoided had the family been aware of the videos, a source said: “The family knew about it, but did not know the magnitude of the scandal. During the discussion on giving ticket, Mr. Kumaraswamy had expressed reservations on re-nominating Mr. Prajwal, but he eventually ceded to the demands of his brother’s family. This already had caused friction within the family.”

The magnitude of the scandal and the absence of Mr. Prajwal, who left India soon after the polls on April 26, has provided limited scope for the party or its leaders to defend their MP. The party has so far not questioned the veracity of the contents.

Sources said that the scandal has brought huge embarrassment to the JD(S), and is very difficult to defend publicly.

“How do you defend this? This is the biggest scandal we have faced so far. It has damaged the party’s image,” another source said.

“The party is now weighing options for a strategy. On the other hand, the family is looking at legal options. If the SIT issues a notice to the MP, he will have to return, or else it would be another embarrassment to the party and the family.”

‘Act against protesters’

The Janata Dal (Secular) has urged the Bengaluru Police Commissioner to take action against Congress workers who allegedly used abusive language against Mr. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy during their protest seeking action against Prajwal Revanna, in Bengaluru.

In their memorandum, the party said that it had no issues with the protest, but the workers had used foul words to insult them.

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