There is heightened buzz over a possible pact between the ruling BJP and JD(S) for the coming legislative council polls, following full display of bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the regional party’s patriarch H D Deve Gowda.
The Prime Minister met Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday, photos of which were widely shared by BJP leaders on social media platforms.
The biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council from 20 Local Authorities’ Constituencies for 25 seats, due to retirement of sitting members, will be held on December 10. The development has come in the backdrop of state BJP strong man and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa openly seeking JD(S) support in the seats where the regional party is not contesting. The JD(S) has fielded only six candidates, while the BJP and Congress are contesting in 20 seats each.
Speaking to reporters in the national capital after meeting the PM, Gowda had said, the matter came up for discussion, and he has conveyed that BJP will have to make a final call in this regard and come with a proposal, and that former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will take a decision on behalf of the JD(S). “….finally, it’s up to the BJP to take a call on this issue, since your party is in power. Kumaraswamy hasn’t spoken negatively on this (proposal). It is up to the BJP to take a final call on Yediyurappa’s opinion (on seeking JDS support)… I told (PM) it is up to you people to take a decision,” he said.
“He (PM) said he will discuss with Pralhad Joshi (Union Minister from Karnataka) on the matter concerning the state,” Gowda added. Meanwhile, reacting to the developments in Delhi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Hubballi on Wednesday said Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy will take a final call on the possible pact.
“Among several issues discussed between PM and Deve Gowda during their meeting, this matter has been left to local leadership. Our leader Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy will take a final decision on this,” he said. This election is crucial for BJP to gain a majority in the 75 member “upper house” of Karnataka legislature. According to JD(S) sources, the party is open to supporting the BJP in the seats it is not contesting, but the national party will have to reach out to its leaders officially in this regard and hold talks.
Asked whether JD(S) will seek any “return favour”, a party functionary said, “maybe, it’s natural…let’s see how things will go, let them reach out first. We will also have to see on which seats we can support them, keeping our party’s prospects in the future elections.” The possible pact between BJP and JD(S) gains significance ahead of 2023 assembly polls and upcoming taluk and zilla panchayat polls. Kumaraswamy had headed the BJP-JD(S) coalition government for 20 months from January 2006, under a power sharing agreement of leading the coalition for 20 months each. The JD(S) had then reneged on its commitment to share the power for the remaining 20 months with the BJP and refused to hand over the mantle to Yeddyurappa, leading to the collapse of the government.
Congress, also a former coalition partner of the JD(S) having run the government in alliance with it, after 2018 assembly polls, has been alleging internal understanding between the regional party and BJP in various bypolls held so far. The Congress has even called JD(S), the ‘B-team’ of BJP.
Gowda has said that no Congress leader has approached his party for any pact or understanding so far. Senior Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge seems to be “sympathetic” towards the idea of a pact with the JD(S). “But, the Congress high command’s stand on this is unknown…..”, Gowda said.