The Janata Dal (Secular) has joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance ahead of next year’s general elections. The announcement was made on Friday afternoon after senior JDS leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP boss, JP Nadda, Delhi. No details have been released so far on seat sharing in the southern state.
On this, Mr. Kumaraswamy said: “…discussions will continue on seat sharing.”
A photograph posted by Mr Nadda on X shows the leaders engaged in discussions and another shows them standing shoulder to shoulder, with the BJP bosses wrapped in a ceremonial shawl.
“I am happy that the JDS has decided to be part of the National Democratic Alliance. We wholeheartedly welcome them. This will strengthen the NDA and Prime Minister Narendra Modiji’s vision for a ‘New India, Strong India’,” did he declare.
I met former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader Shri HD Kumaraswamy in the presence of our senior leader and Home Minister Shri. @AmitShah Ji.
I am happy that JD(S) has decided to be part of the National Democratic Alliance. We wholeheartedly welcome them to the NDA.… pic.twitter.com/eRDUdCwLJc
– Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) September 22, 2023
Last week, JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda told reporters that he had initiated talks with senior BJP leaders in Delhi, and told reporters that he had done so “not for to become Prime Minister again… (but) to save this party… I saved that.” party even when HD Kumaraswamy went with the BJP…”
Mr Kumaraswamy later told NDTV “more (details) will be revealed after Ganesh Chaturthi”.
READ | ‘After Ganesha festival…’: HD Kumaraswamy teases Karnataka BJP-JDS deal
He also dismissed speculation that the JDS would get four seats in the Old Mysore region – that the BJP had lost ground (and votes) to the Congress in May’s parliamentary elections.
The JDS and the BJP joined forces to form the government in 2007, but it collapsed after 20 months, with the BJP claiming Mr Kumaraswamy had failed to honor an agreement to share the minister’s post in chief.
The regional party had also joined hands with the Congress – for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – but both were soundly defeated by the BJP, which won 25 of the state’s 28 seats.
The news of the JDS-BJP alliance was “interrupted” by senior BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa, who said the small party would contest from Mandya and three other seats.
READ | As opposition teams up for big fight of 2024, BJP plans pact in South
Mr Yediyurappa said the deal would help the BJP win “25 or 26 seats”.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the JDS performed poorly; he won only one seat and received only nine percent of the vote. The results were slightly better in the legislative elections held earlier this year, in which the Assembly received around 14 percent of the vote and 19 seats; this was down from 37 in 2018.
The BJP, on the other hand, polled 36% votes in the Assembly elections and, importantly, swept the state in 2019, leaving many wondering about this alliance when the buzz first surfaced.
READ | BJP, JDS meet in Karnataka ahead of big 2024 polls. NDTV explains
However, as NDTV reported this month, this could still make sense as the JDS still has influence in eight Lok Sabha segments in the Old Mysuru region. These include Mandya, Hassan, Bengaluru (rural) and Chikballapur, seats he is said to have sought as part of the deal with the BJP. These eight also include Tumkur, the seat for which JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda contested and lost in 2019.
Besides, the influence of the JDS over voters in Vokkalinga will strengthen the hand of the BJP. And perhaps that is the silver lining as the Congress is seen to have made inroads into the traditionally BJP-voting community.