oppn parties Who Will The JD(S) Support in Karnataka?

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Who Will The JD(S) Support in Karnataka?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
With Karnataka exit polls pointing to a hung assembly, a lot many calculations are being made in political circles about who is going to support whom and who is going to form the government. All these calculations are based on which way the father-son duo of H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy will take the JD(S). For, in the event that neither Congress nor BJP get enough seats to form the government on their own, they will have to seek the support of JD(S) to do so in alliance.

The first calculation seems deceptively simple. If Congress gets more seats than BJP or is even neck to neck with it, JD(S) is expected to go with it to form the government. That will be in line with its policy till now despite the Deve Gowda-Modi bromance displayed in the initial stage of campaign. Further, with JD(S) having fought these elections in alliance with Mayawati’s BSP, it would like to avoid the BJP. But, as said, this simplification is deceptive. For, Siddaramaiah was a Deve Gowda protégé who defected to the Congress from the JD(S). Deve Gowda is likely to make it a precondition for his support that Siddaramaiah is not made CM. There is a buzz that in that event Mallikarjun Kharge, a Dalit, will take over. Already, Sidda has started saying that he has no problems if a Dalit is made the CM. But that is just posturing. Sidda is not going to let go so easily, especially after fighting the election as an incumbent. He will stress that the people voted for him based on the record of his government. If he is sidelined by the high command, he is not only going to sulk but actively work to scuttle the alliance. In all probability, a Congress-JD(S) alliance minus Siddaramaiah is not going to last long.

If, on the other hand, the BJP manages to get enough seats that take it closer to the half way mark, the JD(S) will be in a huge problem. Due to BSP pressure, it will not be able to immediately support the party. If it breaks its alliance with the BSP, it will be seen as an unreliable partner in future. On the other hand, Deve Gowda knows that Amit Shah has a ‘doctorate’ in engineering defections. With JD(S) likely to get between 28-38 seats, it will be easy for Shah to snare more than one-third MLA’s to escape the Anti-Defection Law and form the government without the support of the JD(S). Deve Gowda will be worried about keeping the flock together. Even if, for argument’s sake, the JD(S) decides to dump the BSP and support the BJP, the next stumbling block will be Kumaraswamy’s known antipathy towards the party. The last time around when BJP and JD(S) were together, Kumaraswamy was made CM after an understanding was reached that he would remit office in favour of a BJP nominee after two and half years. But when the time came, Kumaraswamy refused. That resulted in a huge showdown and Kumaraswamy has not lived it down. But if there is no other option, Deve Gowda is likely to bring him around.

All these calculations show that selecting candidates, issuing manifestos, campaigning and voting were the easiest parts of these elections. The toughest part would be government formation in case of a hung assembly. There are too many ifs and buts and why’s and whynot’s and like in a T20 game, the match could go in anyone’s favour on the given day. One thing is sure though. Although worried about poaching, the JD(S) is likely to hugely enjoy its pole position as kingmaker.