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Sunday, October 1, 2023

JD(S) May Nicely Play Kingmaker Once more

When former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) mentions the BJP and the Congress – he typically golf equipment them collectively and refers to them as “the nationwide events”.

The Trinamool Congress, the NCP, and the CPI could also be coping with the lack of their “nationwide social gathering” standing (AAP has gained the tag), however Mr Kumaraswamy’s social gathering has all the time been firmly regional. It isn’t only a regional social gathering, however a regional social gathering whose energy is essentially confined to at least one area of Karnataka.

The Janata Dal was fashioned in 1988 and it cut up into the Janata Dal (United) and the JD(S) in 1999.

Not too a few years in the past in Karnataka, the Janata Dal was in a position to kind a authorities. It even despatched a Prime Minister to Delhi, with HD Deve Gowda unexpectedly catapulted to that submit. When Mr Deve Gowda moved to Delhi, he handed over the reins of Karnataka to JH Patel, who accomplished the total time period for the social gathering.

However all that was earlier than the rise of that nationwide social gathering referred to as the BJP.

After 1999, the social gathering did handle to take energy and Deve Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy was Chief Minister twice – however solely as a part of a coalition with the ‘nationwide events’.

Regardless of the standard line about “forming the federal government on our personal” forward of state elections in Might, it could appear to be a reasonably unlikely end result of voting.

To begin with, the world of energy for the JD(S) stays the southern a part of the state. It’s seen because the social gathering of the Vokkaligas, the caste to which its first household belongs. The social gathering’s presence within the Lingayat-dominated northern and central areas is negligible in comparison with the BJP. It isn’t as if the JD(S) is assured the Vokkaliga vote both. No part of the inhabitants votes utterly as a single bloc, and the Congress has appreciable enchantment within the southern Previous Mysuru area of the state too. One of many potential chief ministerial faces of the Congress is state chief DK Shivakumar, who’s a Vokkaliga.

Then there was friction throughout the Deve Gowda household over the ticket for the Hassan seat. HD Revanna wished the ticket for his spouse Bhavani, whereas his youthful brother, HD Kumaraswamy, was adamant that this won’t occur. Finally, Kumaraswamy prevailed however these public variations may have an effect on the notion of the social gathering – what does it imply for unity when even the household doesn’t all the time see eye-to-eye?

The picture of the JD(S) as a family-run social gathering is borne out by its actions. Within the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Deve Gowda gave up his secure seat of Hassan for his grandson Prajwal. Gowda himself contested from Tumakuru and misplaced. Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil contested in opposition to Sumalatha Ambareesh, an impartial candidate in Mandya. Nikhil additionally misplaced.

However whereas the percentages are in opposition to the JD(S) sweeping to energy with a majority within the 224-member Karnataka meeting, this not at all signifies that the social gathering is just not a big participant.

Within the 2018 election, the JD(S) got here in third, with a seat tally of 37, effectively behind the Congress (80) and the BJP (105).

Regardless of these numbers, it was the JD(S) that was given the submit of Chief Minister as a part of its take care of the Congress for an alliance to maintain the BJP out of energy. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was as soon as once more a kingmaker who grew to become the king.

In 2023, there’s each chance that the BJP will as soon as once more fail to win a transparent majority by itself. The Congress – whereas additionally making assured claims of forming the federal government – may additionally fall quick. That is the place the JD(S) may as soon as once more rating.

Each the nationwide events have good motive to be mistrustful of Kumaraswamy. In 2004, with no social gathering getting a transparent majority within the Karnataka election, the Congress and the JD(S) got here collectively to kind a coalition authorities. In 2006, he broke his coalition with the Congress and joined fingers with the BJP. This, regardless of his father Deve Gowda’s said objection to that transfer. The association with the BJP was meant to be one for sharing the Chief Minister’s submit, with Kumaraswamy taking the primary flip. However when it got here to handing over the reins to the BJP’s BS Yediyurappa, Kumaraswamy did not preserve his a part of the cut price and held on to the chair, triggering political chaos. He stop his submit and the state was positioned beneath President’s rule. He later determined to again Yediyurappa in any case. Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister, however Kumaraswamy withdrew his assist simply days later. Yediyurappa needed to resign after only a week because the BJP’s first-ever Chief Minister in south India.

Although Kumaraswamy did not show to be probably the most dependable of companions, the Congress determined to provide the JD(S) one other shot in 2018. Kumaraswamy says he has been approached by BJP leaders too. It definitely is not a case of as soon as bitten, twice shy. Within the occasion of a hung meeting in Karnataka in Might, the BJP and the Congress might effectively must swallow their satisfaction as soon as once more and look in direction of the JD(S).

(Maya Sharma is a senior tv journalist and author based mostly in Bengaluru.)

Disclaimer: These are the private opinions of the creator.

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