As the national parties — BJP and Congress — are ruling out JD-S as a competitor in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls, 89-year-old former Prime Minister and JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda has declared that “he will bring his party to power no matter what”.
Former Chief Minister and Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy has even claimed that both the national parties will have to come to his doorsteps after the elections.
The JD-S, once a force to reckon with in the state, is now confined to south Karnataka. The Vokkaliga vote bank, from which it derives power, is likely to divide, as after 20 years, state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar, who hails from Vokkaliga community, has a good chance of becoming the Chief Minister.
Ruling BJP in the state is trying to persuade the voters to its fold to achieve a majority in the Assembly elections. Though the BJP made it to the power, the party has failed to get a simple majority in the state elections. Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent programme in Mandya, considered as the power centre of Vokkaligas, was aimed at impressing upon the voters of the region.
The JD-S has launched “Pancharatna Yatra” to reach out to the people across all districts of the state. The Yatra is receiving good response from the crowd and political analysts say that it would be interesting to see whether these large crowds will get translated to votes during elections.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had paid a visit to Deve Gowda’s residence, while Kumaraswamy had also gone to Hyderabad to participate in events of Bharat Rastra Samithi (BRS). Insiders claim that both, JD-S and BRS, come to an understanding over the Assembly polls and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to Shah’s visit to Mandya and its outreach to the Vokkaliga community in south Karnataka, Kumaraswamy reiterated that Mandya is a strong fortress of the JD-S and his party will win all seven segments in the district. “There will be no impact (of Shah’s visit) whatsoever,” he stated.
Ruling BJP has installed a 108-foot tall statue of Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda in the premises of the Bengaluru International Airport. Also, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has performed ground worship for the building of statues of Kempe Gowda and social reformer Basavanna in the premises of Vidhana Soudha (state Assembly) recently. However, Kumaraswamy had ridiculed the attempts, saying that the BJP cannot impress the people by building statues.
In December 2022, the JD-S has announced the first list of candidates for 93 assembly constituencies. Kumaraswamy stated that the leaders would get enough time to reach out to the people ahead of polls.
JD-S leader and spokesperson, Raju Gowda stated that Kumaraswamy’s Pancharatna Yatra is evoking “very good response and a new trend is being created in the state”.
Sources explain that when compared to national parties, the committees and digital publicity is lacking. The party insiders also say that the Pancharatna Yatra is turning out to be a one man show.
However, political analysts say that the JD-S has the ability to emerge like a dark horse and with its limitations, can also emerge as a king maker by winning about 30 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections.