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JD(S) looks to its old hands for voter connect

Leaders needed to match changed caste equations in the state, say party insiders

Published: 27th June 2017 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th June 2017 08:33 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: As Janata Dal (Secular) spruces its image and tries to give a go at the Assembly elections all alone, a problem of representation dogs the party in the old Mysuru region. 
After much drama, A H Vishwanath resigned from Congress and is expected to join JD(S) soon to boost its prospects in the region, but party insiders say they need more recognisable people to make significant inroads into votes. Intermittent talks have been going on with Congress leaders C M Ibrahim and B L Shankar, while plans are also being made for PGR Scindia, who has maintained a low profile within the party.

A JD(S) source said, “Earlier there was D Manjunath, Ibrahim, Nanaiah and many other faces during the hey days when JD(S) had garnered a higher vote share. Now the caste equations have also changed and we need more faces to represent those communities. If our calculations work out, then it will be mutually beneficial for the party as well as the leaders.

While Vishwanath is being considered crucial to woo Kuruba and other backward castes, Shankar is being considered to represent the Lingayat community and Ibrahim the minority communities. 
Going by their calculations, JD(S)’ vote share has hovered around 20 per cent in the last three assembly elections, after a high in 1996 elections, where they won 115 seats with 33.54 per cent vote share. 

In the 2013 elections, the JD(S) had lost with a close margin in 33 seats and still retained a 20 per cent vote share with 40 seats. With adequate representation and known faces, the party hopes to cross the 30 per cent mark and win 100 seats or more. Party sources added that with KJP being out of the picture, JD(S) once again enjoys the stature of being the only regional party and this would swing a small per cent of votes in its favour.

Anita in a proactive role
While both H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy have maintained that only two people in the family will contest the next assembly election, it is unlikely that it will stay so till the end.  Anita Kumaraswamy, while not expressing a desire to contest the polls, is taking part in party activities more assiduously.

In accordance with the wishes of her father-in-law Deve Gowda, she is now accompanying Kumaraswamy on a series of temple visits including Kukke Subramanya, Chamundeshwari temple in Mysuru and a few others. Anita, who is credited with diffusing tensions between G T Deve Gowda and Vishwanath over the Hunsur assembly seat, is not said to be taking part in poll strategy entirely, but is still involved enough to be part of most JD(S) activities. 



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