Will JD(S) Jump Ship in Karnataka After BJP’s Big Win?

Post the BJP’s thumping win, right at the centre of this extremely complex political situation lies the JD(S).

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4 min read

The results of the Lok Sabha elections for Karnataka saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) make a near clean sweep in the state, winning in 25 parliamentary seats of the total 28. This has put it in an unprecedentedly strong position, revealing the fault lines in the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance, with the partners managing to win just a single seat each.

When the exit polls indicated a wave in favour of the BJP, there was speculation of a change of guard in the state as well. A few days before the last phase of election, BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa had claimed there was an ‘atmosphere’ of change in the state. Congress, too, had begun bracing for another round of resisting BJP’s attempt to poach its MLAs.

Post the BJP’s thumping win, right at the centre of this extremely complex political situation lies the Janata Dal (Secular).

What the JD(S) will do now remains the million dollar question? Here is a rundown of all the reason for and against the BJP and the JD(S) joining hands in Karnataka.


Why Would JD(S) go With The BJP

Now that the NDA has returned to power with a majority, ruling Karnataka would be a tough task for CM Kumaraswamy. For the last year, he has been struggling to get support from the Centre on several issues – Kodgau flood relief, funds for drought relief and even his farm loan waiver scheme. Thus, without having an ally at the Centre and with the NDA returning to power, Kumaraswamy’s troubles would only continue.

By joining hands with the BJP, Kumaraswamy could promote himself to national politics. While he could negotiate union minister post for himself, one of his family members could get an important post, even deputy CM, in the new coalition government with the BJP in the state.

No More I-T Raids

Then comes the relief of not having to deal with the I-T raids. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, the I-T Department had conducted several raids on JD(S) party workers and close associates of party members. The ‘I-T menace’ had reached such a stage that Kumaraswamy became the first chief minister in the state to come out on the street to protest against the Centre’s alleged misuse of the I-T department.

The Internal Politics of the Coalition

And finally, since the formation of the coalition government last year, the clamour from Siddaramaiah’s camp to make him CM has become a problem for the JD(S). Both Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah even had public social media arguments over each other’s statements.

Many within the coalition believe all this is part of Siddaramaiah’s plans to bring down the coalition government and sit in the Opposition, to bring Congress back to power in the next Assembly election.

Faced with an internal rift in the coalition, Kumaraswamy will likely consider an alliance with the BJP to maintain a good position.


Why JD(S) Could Stay With Congress

The Deve Gowda Factor

Not everyone believes that the JD(S) and the BJP coming together is such an obvious choice. One of the biggest reasons against a JD(S) defection is the fact that party Supremo HD Deve Gowda would never allow such a deal to exist. Right before the Assembly elections in Karnataka last year, he had gone on record to say that he would disown his own son, CM Kumaraswamy, if he ever entered into an agreement with the BJP.

CM of a State vs A nobody at the Centre

Secondly, HD Kumaraswamy would much rather be the chief minister of a state than a nobody at the Centre. Since he was given the chance to form government and become chief minister with only 37 out of a total 224 seats, political analysts believe that it would be highly unlikely that he would trade this for a union minister’s post.

Also, since supporting the BJP means forming the government with BS Yeddyurappa, this would entail HDK getting sidelined. Why? Because when the JD(S) and BJP had come together to form a coalition government in 2006, Kumaraswamy was the one to deny Yeddyurappa the role of CM.


To Make his Resume Better

If Kumaraswamy continues to remain the CM of the state, he would get time to develop schemes like the farm loan waiver scheme, which would give him fodder for campaigning for the next election, which in all likelihood would be contested separately by the JD(S) and the Congress.

To Avoid Title of Bad Alliance Partner

One of the biggest factors at play in Kumaraswamy staying with the Congress is that if he were to walk out of the alliance with the party, it would become the third time in 13 years that he abandoned his alliance partner. He had walked out of the Congress alliance in 2006 and had repeated the same with the BJP the following year.

Thus, for Kumaraswamy to retain his political relevance and also to distance himself from a bad reputation politically, it is essential that he remains in the coalition with the Congress party.

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