Lok Sabha election results: JD(S) upbeat over its performance and role in alliance partner’s victories

Updated - June 04, 2024 11:57 pm IST

Published - June 04, 2024 10:06 pm IST - Bengaluru

JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy addressing the media after he won the Lok Sabha election from Mandya constituency, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy addressing the media after he won the Lok Sabha election from Mandya constituency, in Bengaluru on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Lok Sabha election results have lifted the spirits of the Janata Dal (Secular), which a year ago was in shambles after being drubbed by its principal rival, the Congress, in its strongholds in the Legislative Assembly polls.

While it won two of the three seats it contested in the parliamentary polls, as part of the seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, the party is credited to have helped the saffron party in at least eight other seats, especially in the Old Mysore region.

Upbeat party leaders believe that the results have sent a strong message to the Congress and Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, who was accused by the regional party of attempting to break the JD(S). The leaders believe that the results in Mandya — where Mr. Kumaraswamy won by a margin of over 2.84 lakh votes — and Bengaluru Rural — where Mr. Kumaraswamy’s brother-in-law and noted cardiologist C.N. Manjunath (contesting on the BJP ticket) trounced D.K. Suresh, brother of the KPCC president, by a margin of over 2.69 lakh votes — show that the JD(S) continues to hold sway over the Vokkaliga community. Of the six Vokkaliga candidates from the Congress, only one has managed to win in Hassan, and the Congress won only two out of the 14 seats in Southern Karnataka.

JD(S) leaders also say that the results coming amid a total washout for the BJP in the Kalyana Karnataka region show the importance of the regional party in the saffron party’s fortunes. They claim that in seats such as Tumakuru, Chickballapur, Chitradurga, Mysuru, Bengaluru North, and Bengaluru Rural, the vote transfer from the JD(S) and a good synergy achieved helped the BJP win. They also discount any threat of possible cannibalisation by the BJP in the immediate future, since the party has become weaker at the national level.

The regional party had seen its vote share shrink from 18.5% in the 2018 Assembly elections to about 13.36% in 2023. In the 2024 parliamentary elections, where it contested only three seats, the party managed to return with a vote share of 5.6%. This is in contrast with 9.67% vote share in 2019 when it contested in seven seats as part of an alliance with the Congress.

With the taluk panchayat and zilla panchayat elections expected to be held later this year, the victory, especially in Mandya — the heartland of Vokkaliga politics — is expected to galvanise the party workers. Mr. Kumaraswamy is widely expected to be accommodated in the Union Cabinet and his elevation will also help in rebuilding the party, leaders said.

HDK for Delhi

Mr. Kumaraswamy, who registered a victory from Mandya, will be travelling to Delhi on Wednesday to attend the meeting of NDA leaders. Party sources said Union Home Minister Amit Shah had invited Mr. Kumaraswamy to the meeting in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president J.P. Nadda are likely to attend. Separately, there could be a discussion with BJP central leaders over “those who worked against the alliance”, bringing down the numbers, sources said.

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