With frequent exits, party’s hope to be a real contender wanes

The hopes of the Janata Dal (Secular) to emerge as the third political force in Dakshina Kannada appear to be waning as the party has not been able to retain leaders in the district over the years.

After the party expelled two leaders — D.M. Aslam, president of the district minority wing, and Shashiraj, general secretary of the district unit — of following the elections to the urban local bodies, two more leaders, including a former minister, have now quit the party in the district ahead of the coming Assembly elections.

B. Nagaraj Shetty, a former minister who was the vice-president of the State unit, and M. G. Hegde, who was the Secretary of the State unit — both from the district — quit the party last week.

Earlier, after the 2008 elections to the State Legislative Assembly, K.B. Balaraj Rai, who was the president of the district unit, quit the party in April 2009 just ahead of the elections to Lok Sabha to join the Congress, stating that he was not happy with the JD(S).

Prior to this, the former MLA K. Vasanth Bangera, who headed the district unit, quit as the president of the party in December 2006, and joined the Congress a year later. Mr. Bangera was against the JD(S) sharing power with the BJP in the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat after ousting the then president of the zilla panchayat Mamata Gatti of the Congress in a no-confidence motion. Mr. Bangera contested the 2008 elections to the Assembly on the Congress ticket from Belthangady Assembly constituency and won.

M.B. Sadashiva, president, district unit of the party, told The Hindu on Sunday that Mr. Aslam and Mr. Shashiraj were expelled for violating the party discipline ahead of the urban local bodies elections. Both had openly questioned the party leadership, he alleged.

Mr. Shetty, who was a Cabinet minister in the JD(S)-BJP coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy, had quit the BJP to join the JD(S) recently. Mr. Hegde, who was the spokesperson of the district unit of the Congress, had switched over to the JD(S) in 2011.

Mr. Shetty and Mr. Hegde told The Hindu that they quit the JD(S) as there was no democracy in the district unit. They alleged that top leaders in the district unit, including Mr. Sadashiva, had felt insecure after they joined the party. However, Mr. Sadashiva denied this. He said that the two had quit the party as they could not “fulfil their expectation” in the party. Mr. Sadashiva did not divulge the details.

Mr. Shetty said that Mr. Aslam had worked hard for the JD(S) candidate during the Mangalore City Corporation council election in for the first time. He had been expelled for a silly reason.

No mass leader

Jayaraj Ameen, Professor, Department of Political Science, Mangalore University, said that the party lacked mass leaders in the district. It would not emerge as the third political force in the near future as people in the district still have not accepted it as anti-communal.

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