Insecurity and anxiety over future prospects among several incumbent and former legislators within the Janata Dal (Secular) after its alliance with the BJP, could pose a problem to the regional outfit and threaten the NDA’s outcome in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Anxiety has gripped several former legislators, who lost to the BJP opponents in the recently held Assembly polls, over their prospects. Several legislators who received support from Muslim community locally and won the elections, are also anxious about the loss of minority support in future polls. Those who have won defeating their BJP rival are also worried if they would get the ticket to contest in the next polls.
In some cases, JD(S) legislators lost to Congress candidates due to a strong BJP presence. With the taluk and zilla panchayat elections expected, local leaders are under pressure to ensure ticket for their followers, which now hangs in balance due to the alliance.
It is learnt that the number of those former legislators, who lost the polls due to BJP’s influence or to BJP candidates was around 20. Around six legislators, who have won in BJP strong holds or defeating BJP candidates are also anxious, it is learnt. Some are also worried about the permanent loss of base if the party workers shift to either BJP or Congress, depending on who offers a stronger alternative locally.
While many Muslim leaders are now preparing the ground to leave the party, it is learnt that the party’s leadership is yet to address the concerns of its legislators and former legislators over their future prospects in the alliance. Multiple party sources confirmed that the leadership is yet to convene a meeting to allay the fears of former legislators and legislators that could pave way for a smooth entry of the party into the NDA fold.
“The party leadership should convene a meeting of former legislators and incumbent legislators. An assurance about retaining those constituencies for JD(S) candidates in next polls would also give confidence. Instead, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has publicly asked those wanting to move on to quit the party, which is not in good taste.”
Party sources said that local pressures are very high on the incumbent and former legislators, and that a mishandling of the situation could cost the party dearly in the Lok Sabha polls and also in the future. “The immediate worry for the workers and local leader is about the local bodies elections and if they would get the ticket. The party’s poll performance could be affected if these locally strong leaders do not work for the alliance,” sources said.
Acknowledging that there were problems, sources close to Mr. Kumaraswamy, however, exuded confidence that the former CM would be able to address the issue. “Such issues were expected before the alliance was finalised. The bigger concern was to safeguard the party’s interest. We are confident that the former CM will speak to them individually to allay their fears.”