JDS looks to firm up secular identity by wooing minorities
The dominant Vokkaliga community in the Old Mysuru region largely supports the JDS, but they alone may not give the party enough numbers in the Assembly.
Published: 23rd October 2021 05:54 AM | Last Updated: 23rd October 2021 05:54 AM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: While there has been much talk about the JDS fielding minority community candidates in the Hanagal and Sindagi bypolls, with some Congress leaders even alleging that it is JDS’ way of sabotaging its prospects in both constituencies, some political experts think otherwise. They feel that it could be a long-term strategy of the JDS, which is looking to reassert its secular credentials all over again.
The dominant Vokkaliga community in the Old Mysuru region largely supports the JDS, but they alone may not give the party enough numbers in the Assembly. The last time, the party managed 37 seats because it benefitted from its tie-up with the BSP and got Dalit support.
In 2018, the JDS and BSP tied up in Karnataka and the latter contested from 18 seats. The JDS even accommodated the lone BSP MLA from Kollegal, N Mahesh, in the ministry, but he later resigned alleging interference in his ministry. Experts suggest that the tie-up helped JDS in at least 7-8 seats across the state where Dalits voted for it.
Though that is in the past now, the JDS may be looking at another large grouping, which is why the party has fielded Muslims, the experts point out. They have also assured the community of 20 seats in the next Assembly elections which will come up in 17 months time.
Sources in the BSP said a tie-up with the JDS at this juncture sounds remote, but said the party would wait and watch. When contacted, JDS state president H K Kumaraswamy too said, “We have not discussed this issue so far. If there is a suitable opportunity, there may be a tie-up.’’
The tie-up meant the combine got a larger share of Dalit votes which helped the JDS win more seats. In some seats like T Narasipur, Congress heavyweights like H C Mahadevappa lost to JDS’ Ashwin Kumar by about 28,000 votes. In many other constituencies there was a sizeable shift of Dalit vote towards the JDS.
Political analyst B S Murthy said, “This strategy to draw minority support for the JDS may not be very easy because the party first needs to earn their trust. The primary concern of minorities is security and they may not budge so easily.’’ The community has traditionally backed the Congress.