Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda join forces with BJP to secure JDS’ future.
In a strategic manoeuvre aimed at revitalizing the Janata Dal (Secular) [JDS], former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and veteran leader H.D. Deve Gowda have entered into a game-changing alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This unexpected alliance has sent shockwaves through Karnataka’s political landscape and is poised to reshape electoral dynamics in the state.
Old Mysore Part Dominates Election Discourse
Intriguingly, this alliance’s primary focus remains on the Old Mysore region, a traditional stronghold of JDS. Historically, JDS has held sway in this part of Karnataka, and their leaders have consistently been selected from this area. However, recent developments have seen a decline in their fortunes, with the Congress making inroads and even surpassing JDS in some instances.
JDS’ Recent Setbacks and Strategy
JDS, which had initiated its election campaign ahead of other parties in the previous assembly elections, found itself out-manoeuvred by Congress’ “guarantee promises.” The party was only able to secure 19 seats in the Assembly, with even Nikhil Kumaraswamy, Kumaraswamy’s son, facing a dismal defeat. In response, Kumaraswamy, known for his aggressive political tactics, has chosen to align with the BJP, leaving behind his previous battle against the Congress. The BJP-JDS alliance, though not yet finalized in terms of seat allocation, is expected to favour JDS with four constituencies—Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur, and Kolar.
Seat Allocation Disputes
However, the allocation of these seats has become a contentious issue, with JDS leaders pushing for additional constituencies, including Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, and Chikkaballapur. In contrast, the BJP remains steadfast in its demand for only four seats. Inside sources suggest that the four constituencies will indeed go to JDS, with C.P. Yogeshwar emerging as a likely BJP candidate in Bengaluru Rural.
The rivalry between the DK brothers and the Kumaraswamy-led JDS faction has been a driving force behind this unexpected alliance. Kumaraswamy is reportedly using C.P. Yogeshwar as a means of retaliating against the DK brothers for their role in Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s defeat in Ramanagara. In this high-stakes game, alliances have been formed with the intention of turning opponents into allies, at least on the surface. This alliance marks a significant shift from the last Lok Sabha elections when JDS leaders aligned with the Congress, resulting in limited gains for both parties. However, this time, the BJP and JDS are banking on a combination of Lingayat and Okkaliga votes to bolster their prospects.
JDS’ Survival Strategy
With the aging Deve Gowda unable to campaign actively and Kumaraswamy’s health concerns, the JDS party has faced an existential crisis. To combat this, the leaders have strategically joined hands with the BJP, looking to secure their foothold in Tumkur and Kolar constituencies and potentially even in Hassan.
The BJP, traditionally reliant on Lingayat votes, is now eyeing the Okkaliga vote bank as a means of expanding its presence in Karnataka.
The alliance with JDS, which has a strong presence in various Lok Sabha constituencies, including Mysore, Bangalore Rural, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, and Chikkaballapur, is expected to significantly bolster the BJP’s prospects.
The Road Ahead
With the Lok Sabha elections looming, the BJP-JDS alliance is poised to bring about a seismic shift in Karnataka’s political landscape. While JDS may gain a lifeline from the alliance, the BJP is setting its sights on capturing the Okkaliga vote bank, potentially paving the way for a new era in Karnataka politics.
As seat allocation negotiations continue, political pundits and the electorate alike are eagerly awaiting the final details of this unprecedented alliance, which promises to be a defining moment in the state’s political history.