With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging as a major political force to reckon with in the crucial elections to the five northern States, the results are expected to have a bearing on the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2014, and also are likely to impact the political scenario in the State.
By all accounts, the State unit of the BJP is expected to push for opening the gates to welcome the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who, only a year ago, walked out of the BJP to float a new political unit — the Karnataka Janata Party. Indications are that Mr. Yeddyurappa will rejoin the BJP shortly given the fact that it is only a formal invitation that is pending, as yet. Both the BJP and Mr. Yeddyurappa are keen on coming together and there is hardly any opposition to such a move from either the BJP or from within the KJP.
The presence of four parties in the State — the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular), the BJP and the KJP — is expected to be reduced to three with the merger of the KJP with the BJP, and this, in turn, is expected to prompt the two national parties, the BJP and the Congress, to cut into the vote bank of the Janata Dal(S).
In other words, the Congress and the BJP, which are arch rivals, will work against the Janata Dal(S) to ensure that the additional vote margin that they gain at the cost of the latter will serve to their advantage.
The merger of the BJP and the KJP would directly impact the Janata Dal(S) right away in the Assembly where the Janata Dal(S) is the principal Opposition party.
The BJP and the Janata Dal(S) emerged with 40 seats each in the Assembly elections and the latter credited with a marginally higher voter share, was declared the principal Opposition party.
As and when the KJP merges with the BJP, the latter will acquire the principal Opposition status as the KJP has six members in the Assembly.
The State BJP, which has remained shattered over the past year following the exit of Mr. Yeddyurappa and in view of the serious internal differences within the party, is expected to receive a strong dose of rejuvenation owing to several factors and consequently, will emerge has a strong political force in the run-up to the general elections.
It cannot, however, be said for certain that the re-entry of Mr. Yeddyurappa to the BJP will enable the latter to put up a good show in the elections similar to that of the victory in the Assembly elections in May 2008.
At best, the BJP may put up a better performance but not of the kind witnessed in the general elections in May 2009 when the party won 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State.
The initial phase of the Siddaramaiah Government, wherein the ruling party of the day sets forth its agenda, is over, and the critical phase is set to commence and, along with it, comes the demand for expansion of the Council of Ministers with some key leaders, who were initially kept out of the government, exerting pressure. Thus, the elections to the Lok Sabha will be a testing period for the Congress Government with mudslinging and criticism to pin it down.
In the view of the former Prime Minister and nationa president of the Janata Dal (S) H.D. Deve Gowda, the State needs a regional party and “it is this role that the Janata Dal(S) has been essaying for over a decade. The BJP and the Congress will strive to keep the Janata Dal(S) out of the reckoning. The Congress has commenced work to defeat me in Hassan. I am sure the people understand the important role the Janata Dal(S) can play at the present juncture”.