For nearly a decade the Janata Dal (Secular) has been in the centre stage of power arrangements in Karnataka . Starting with the 20 month rule supported by Yeddyurappa and the BJP , which foisted H D Kumaraswamy into the chief minister’s chair , or the tacit support given to several BJP led local bodies in the state , the JD (S )has managed
the ‘Art Of Survival’ beautifully in the state.
This time around again the JD (S) is all set to play kingmaker in the keenly contested BBMP polls for wresting control of the Bangalore city corporation. The difference this time being that the JD (S) in the name of protecting secularism is all set to turn the tables against the BJP. H D Deve Gowda in a rare candid admission said,” Its important to save the existence of JD (S ) in the state and any decision taken is in line with that”. A move that has surprised many in the political circles in the state as ‘secularism’ is the card being played by the JD (S )this time. An insider in the JD (S) told TEHELKA,” The futility of a truck with the BJP is dawning on party top brass. In any association with the BJP, only the BJP has gained and the JD (S) lost. Its also true in the case of we are losing our hold on the Vokalliga community”.
It’s precisely this reason that has forced the JD (S) to wake up and take stock of its political fortunes which have been waning. The rise of tall Vokalliga leaders like R Ashoka and Sadanand Gowda has worried as the Gowda family been consistently losing ground to them.
What is more dramatic is the fact that giving up personal animosity and hatred for each other both the Gowda family and Chief Minister Siddharamaiah have given their consent for the matchmakers in both the parties to negotiate an alliance between the Congress and the JD (S.) The alliance hunters led by Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy and
information minister Roshan Baig from Congress and Zameer Ahmed Khan worked out modalities to shortlist the terms of the alliance and zero in on a mayor of their choice in Bengaluru. All this after , the BJP which celebrated prematurely as it had won 100 seats out of 198 in the Bangalore corporation and was just 4 votes short of the magic figure in an electoral house of 251.
As the alliance drama unfolds and the mayoral election date 11th Sept draws closer, the bargaining power of the JD(S) is coming out in the open. As always, sharp political machinations by the Gowda family have placed it in the pivotal role in state politics. With a mere 17 elected ward reps out of 198 , nobody had imagined that a party with so little at stake in urban votes in the city would end up saving Chief minister Siddharamaiah’s chair. Siddharamaiah knows well that clamour for his removal would have only got bigger and louder had the BJP managed to wrest control of Bengaluru.
The JD (S )corporators and the 7 independent corporators spent over a week in resorts in Kerala , to keep them away from poaching by the BJP brigade. The BJP top brass feels cheated that the two parties have come together to form an (un)holy nexus in the name of secularism. The BJP leaders are fuming with anger as they see this opportunity go away from them after having come so close to it. Former deputy chief minister R Ashoka the architect of the BJP’s performance told TEHELKA,“ The people of Bengaluru city gave their blessings to our corporators, we have won 100 out of 198, the government is misusing its clout to get a mayor and save its face. The chief minister in a bid to save his chair is doing everything possible”.
The Congress leadership, especially the five Congress ministers from Bengaluru are unfazed by the criticism coming their way. State Congress President G Parameshwara after meeting H D Devegowda added,”Its for the development of Bengaluru city that we are coming together”. What is important for the Congress is the chance to put a thumb on BJP’s nose . The Congress leaders are still recovering from the bruises of the 0-3 rout in the last year’s general elections when the BJP snatched all the three city Lok Sabha seats. The extended hand of H D Kumarswamy
for the mayoral alliance, however temporary as it looks may end up throwing a life jacket for Siddharamaiah’s cabinet colleagues Dinesh Gundu Rao, Krishna Byre Gowda, Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig for them
to retain their portfolios and place in the cabinet with this last ditch move.
The JD (S) not only bargained for a Dy Mayor’s post for it candidate, apart from an assurance that its men will head 3 out of 12 standing committees in Bengaluru but also has forced the Congress to give an assurance that it will not trifurcate the city corporation. Clearly the deadline has been marked, and an exit route clause added which will give
the JD (S) a graceful exit as and when it wants from the alliance, maybe even to join hands with the BJP in the future.