New Delhi: The Janata Dal (Secular), once a major regional party in Karnataka, formed by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, is struggling to stay relevant in the politics of the state, with high possibility of many of its Members of Legislative Council (MLCs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) leaving it in the coming months.
Apparently, they are worried about their own political prospects and the future of the party. Sources have indicated to The Sunday Guardian that at least three of JDS’ 11 MLCs are in touch with the BJP. The recent outcome of the legislative council elections and mixed hints by the leadership about any alliance with the BJP have increased party leaders’ anxiety.
A senior JDS leader who wished to stay unnamed, said, “Recently, S.R. Nandeesh, a senior leader and brother of former minister S.R. Mahesh, left the party. Our leadership should make its stand clear now. Is the JDS going to ally with the BJP or not? Many party leaders are confused about the future. Every leader has to think about one’s own politics. We cannot remain in limbo for long. Many other leaders are leaving the party. We lost ground in the Old Mysore region which was our fiefdom. In the legislative council polls, we lost the seats of Tumakuru, Kolar and Mandya in Old Mysore. There are high chances that many sitting MLCs and MLAs might leave the party in the coming months.”
Presently, the party has 32 MLAs in the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly, and 11 members in the 75-member Karnataka Legislative Council.
Many party insiders, political experts and observers of Karnataka politics feel that the primary reason for these elected representatives of the JDS to explore other avenues is, their worry about the future after the outcome of the recent Legislative Council polls that saw the party getting decimated as both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress fought a closely contested battle. Bengaluru-based political observer Shakti Kant Patil said, “The JD(S) leadership is giving no clear indication about an alliance with the BJP, after the Legislative Council debacle. This has led to anxiety among its MLCs and MLAs, as the party is crumbling in election after election. Since the last two years, the party has hardly won any major election. It lost deposit in the assembly bypolls.
In the recent Legislative Council elections, out of 25 seats which went for polls, it contested six seats in the Old Mysuru region dominated by the Vokkaligas. Out of these, they lost the Mandya seat, which used to be the party’s bastion. Hence, the leaders know that the party has no future.
The alliance with the BJP is also not certain, as party leader and former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy has spoken against the BJP after the council polls. Hence, many MLCs are looking to leave the party. I feel many party MLAs might also leave the JDS as the Assembly election approaches.”
In the recent Karnataka Legislative Council elections, out of the 25 seats that went to polls, the BJP got 11 seats, the Congress 11, while the JD(S) won two and others got one seat. The results gave the BJP upper hand in the Karnataka Legislative Council, as now the ruling dispensation has 37 seats in the 75-member house.