MYSURU: The May 12 battle may be a do-or-die one for the JD(S) family headed by party supremo H D Deve Gowda, and his son and state president H D Kumaraswamy. The party, which has been out of power for 12 years now, has been struggling to keep pace with the popularity of Congress and BJP.
With the strong backing of its mainstay voters, Vokkaligas, JD(S) won 40 seats as a result of the 20.2 per cent votes it garnered in 2013. The party has a tough job on hand now to keep up to this. That the party lacks enough leaders, is almost confined to just one community, has too many aspirants in its first family and lacks sufficient cadres.
The party claims credit for the Supreme Court’s recent ‘favourable’ verdict on the longstanding Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It has also campaigned hard to procure the state’s share of Mahadayi river water, which would particularly benefit North Karnataka. This, and the fact that the party has been pulling up the state government for farmer suicides, have helped the JD(S) connect with the farming community.
But after getting into a 50-50 pact with the BJP, Kumaraswamy failed to honour his part of the deal, thus resulting in the party being blacklisted by Veerashaivas. He has since apologised for the ‘blunder’, which he says was the ‘undoing’ of BJP leaders.
Despite undergoing a bypass surgery, Kumaraswamy and his father Deve Gowda have embarked upon Kumara Parva Vikas Yatra in the wake of “people looking for an alternate beyond BJP and Congress”.
Knowing that the party will garner limited success without the support of backward classes, Deve Gowda struck a deal with BSP supremo Mayawati. Though BSP does not enjoy a strong base in Karnataka, its 2 per cent votes could be useful.
JD(S) has in the past joined hands with BJP. It went on to warm up to the Congress by staying away from Nanjangud and Gundlupet bypolls, creating doubts among people about its political credentials.