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2023 Karnataka Elections: Will JD(S)' Outreach Make it Kingmaker Once Again?

In Pancharatna Yatra, HD Kumaraswamy has claimed that JD(S) is likely to win most segments in Old Mysuru region.

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The Janata Dal (Secular) kickstarted the Pancharatna Yatra, a road campaign across the Old Mysuru region from Mulabagilu in Kolar district in the third week on November. The campaign which has completed its 35th day now, is witnessing a huge turn out in the southern region of the state. 

Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has claimed that the Pancharatna Yatra will disturb the voter base of Congress in the Old Mysuru region. Referring to the recent claims made by BJP over Jamia Masjid in Srirangapattana, the former chief minister claimed that the JD(S) will gain despite "the BJP's attempts to polarise".

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JD(S): A Force to Reckon With in Old Mysuru Region

The Old Mysuru region, which has the highest population of dominant Vokkaligas, has always been a stronghold of the JD(S). In the 2018 assembly elections, the party won 27 seats out of the 61 in Mysuru Karnataka. However, in Kittur Karnataka and Kalyan Karnataka, the party was reduced to a minuscule entity winning only six seats of the 100. 

In the run up to the 2023 assembly polls in May, the JD(S) has released its first list of 93 candidates. HD Kumaraswamy will contest from Channapattana constituency, around 60 kilometers from the state capital. His son Nikhil Kumaraswamy will contest from Ramanagara constituency, which was earlier held by his mother Anita Kumaraswamy. 

Among the other names in the JD(S)’ first list of candidates are also the sons of state party president CM Ibrahim and senior leader GT Devegowda. 

Meanwhile, In an interaction with The Quint, an MLA from Manvi Raja, Venkatappa Nayak, who is close to HD Kumaraswamy, defended the ticket-selection saying , "The issue of nepotism is true of all parties. Why blame JD(S) alone? In fact, the decision to give tickets to sons of our leaders came after the people of Old Mysuru region supported them. This is decision of the people and not of the party."

However, the JD(S) is likely to make its presence felt in the Old Mysuru region due to the increased outreach programmes and the Pancharatna Yatra that is taking place. A day earlier, HD Kumaraswamy who witnessed a rousing welcome in Mandya,  promised to implement the Pancharatna Plan—a five-fold scheme focusing on education, healthcare, housing, farmers welfare and employment.

Reacting to the recent developments political analyst Tyagaraj Sharma told The Quint:

"Despite nepotism being an issue for the JD(S), the party is likely to perform well in the Old Mysuru region. I attribute this to Bommai’s poor performance and Congress’s lackadaisical approach towards elections."

The candidate list was which was released after taking consent from former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, interestingly does not feature Kumaraswamy’s elder brother and Holenarasipura MLA HD Revanna. However, state president CM Ibrahim confirmed that the party will release the list of remaining 131 candidates in the coming days.

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JD(S) to be the Kingmaker?

With BJP’s failure in addressing the Vokkaliga-Lingayat reservation conundrum and the corruption allegations against the Bommai administration, the JD(S) seems to be at favourable position. 

A political consultant working with the BJP, confirmed this to The Quint on the condition of anonymity:

We are carrying out surveys in Chamarajanagara, Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagara, Bengaluru (Rural and Urban), Tumakuru, Kolar and Chikkaballapura. Based on the data we have analysed, the JD(S) is likely to win at least 45 seats this election. This could be a cause of concern for the BJP, if they happen to fall short of a majority."

Reacting to accusations of Gowda family's domination in the party, HD Kumaraswamy too hit out at BJP national general secretary BL Santosh. Right after announcing the candidate list, he said, "I don't need to learn from you. In 2023, you'll have to come to JD(S). I ask the BJP to be careful, as it is not easy for them to survive. I've decided to throw out the BJP from the state."

Tyagraj Sharma said that the Congress' "slow approach" may push Karnataka towards another hung Assembly.

"In my opinion, this is going to be a hung assembly again. With BJP's abysmal administration and Congress's lack of focus, it is the JD(S) which is placed to win more seats. This time too, there are high possibilities that the HD Kumaraswamy will be the one calling the shots in the state."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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