MLC election: Suspense over JD(S)-BJP alliance

H.D. Kumaraswamy  

Suspense continues over the proposed poll alliance between the regional outfit Janata Dal (Secular) and the ruling BJP for the Legislative Council polls to 25 seats on December 10 with former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy putting off the announcement by another day.

“Till now, I have not said we will have poll pact with anyone. The BJP has also not officially sought our support nor has it said it will support us in six constituencies. Only former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has spoken about it a couple of times in his personal capacity. The issue was not discussed when former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda met Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Mr. Kumaraswamy told reporters in Mandya on Monday. “I will make our party stand clear on Tuesday. The Congress is spreading misinformation to grab our votes. For us, both BJP and Congress are political rivals,” he said.

Political circles are watching the move curiously after former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa publicly sought the JD(S) support to BJP candidates in constituencies where JD(S) is not contesting.

Though Mr. Kumaraswamy has not been committal, the timing of the meeting between Mr. Gowda and Mr. Modi indicated some kind of arrangement between the parties. The JD(S) has substantial votes in some districts in the North Karnataka region, especially in Raichur, Bidar, Yadgir, and Vijayapura where the regional party has not fielded candidates. The JD(S) is contesting in six seats in the South Karnataka region. The BJP is contesting in 20 seats out of 25 seats.

While Mr. Kumaraswamy’s announcement is anticipated, senior leaders in both the BJP and the JD(S) are unsure if such a move publicly will happen at all and even if it happens, would it help both parties. “At this juncture, we are expecting the party leadership to ask local leaders to decide depending on local circumstances,” a JD(S) legislator told The Hindu. The legislator also pointed out that even if the party announces the formalisation of the pact, many Muslim voters will prefer not to vote for the BJP. “With money playing an important role, a public announcement may not have much impact.”

A senior BJP leader also indicated that there may be an internal understanding which will likely go unacknowledged. “The BJP is not in the mood to offer support in key JD(S) seats in Mandya, Hassan, Mysuru, and Tumakuru where the BJP may not win. However, we see it as an opportunity to expand our presence. Instead, we expect the JD(S) to pay back for our support to make Basararaj Horatti the chairman in the Council.”


He said that wooing gram panchayat members now is crucial in the run up to the 2023 Assembly polls. The leader said: “With the Congress already terming the JD(S) as the BJP’s ‘B team’, it may not be wise for both parties to publicly get into an alliance as that will make the contest bi-polar.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 10:52:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/council-poll-suspense-continues-over-proposed-jds-bjp-alliance/article37874538.ece

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