BJP, JDS In Firefighting Mode Over Deve Gowda's Grandson's Sex Scandal

The JDS, which has allied with the BJP for the 2024 Lok Sha election, has refused to comment pending a complete inquiry.

JDS' Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna (File).


Janata Dal (Secular) lawmaker Sharangouda Kandkur has demanded the suspension of party MP Prajwal Revanna amid a row over explicit videos - allegedly showing the Hassan MP sexually assaulting multiple women - that began circulating a day after voting in his constituency. 

In a two-page letter made public Monday morning, Mr Kandkur told party patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda the JDS had been left "embarrassed by the circulating videos, and it damages the reputation of both you and your party."

Mr Revanna - who is Mr Deve Gowda's grandson - is not currently in India. He left for Germany Saturday morning, shortly after the videos emerged online. On Sunday he filed a police complaint claiming the clips - there are reportedly thousands - were doctored. The videos, he claimed, were being distributed to "tarnish his image and poison voters' minds". 

This was a day after the Congress government led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said a special team had been set up to investigate the case.

READ | Siddaramaiah Sets Up Team To Probe Sex Scandal Involving JDS MP

The JDS, which has allied with the BJP for the 2024 Lok Sha election, has refused to comment pending a complete inquiry. 

However, senior party leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy - who is Mr Deve Gowda's son - said there could be no question of forgiving anyone who had committed a crime.

READ | "Let Facts Come Out": HD Kumaraswamy On Nephew's Sex Scandal

He also said the party had nothing to do with Mr Revanna apparently fleeing the country. "If he has gone to a foreign country getting him back is their (the special investigative team) responsibility. What should I say... SIT will get him, don't worry."

The scandal broke last week after a woman filed a police case against Mr Revanna, accusing him of sexual assault. The case was filed at a police station in his constituency.

She alleged she had been sexually abused multiple times between 2019 and 2022. The clips circulating show more women and they are likely to come forward to file cases too.

The row has also snowballed into a political squabble between the JDS and the BJP, with some of the national party's leaders distancing themselves from the state party and calling for a rethink. S Prakash, the BJP state unit's chief spokesperson, said, "We, as a party, have nothing to do with the videos and neither do we have any comments to make..."

The ruling Congress, meanwhile, has also gotten involved, after reports some BJP leaders had told their party's state boss, BY Vijayendra, of the clips back in December. They have questioned their rival's decision to field Mr Revanna despite knowledge of the videos.

In a post in Hindi on X, senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said, "The leader with whom the PM gets photographed by placing his hand on his shoulder. The leader for whom the PM himself campaigned 10 days ago. Praised him on stage. Today, that leader of Karnataka is absconding from the country."

Fourteen of Karnataka's 28 Lok Sabha seats, including Hassan, voted in the second phase last week. The remaining 14 are due to vote in the third phase on May 7, but the JDS is not contesting any of these seats. As per the seat-share agreement, the party - which broke from the Congress to join the BJP in October - fought only three in south Karnataka.