JD(S) points at anti-incumbency, Vokkaligas supporting Congress, financial deficit for poll debacle

JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda has called for a legislative and party workers' meeting at Bengaluru on 25 May.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 23, 2023 | 12:03 AMUpdated May 23, 2023 | 8:05 AM

JD(S) points at anti-incumbency, Vokkaligas supporting Congress, financial deficit for poll debacle

The Janata Dal (Secular) continued its dismal run in the Assembly elections in Karnataka, and is now pointing to several factors why it happened this time.

To summarise, the JD(S) managed to win only 19 of the 224 seats in the Assembly, with only three of its 30 incumbent MLAs among them.

And even that 30 was down from the 37 who had won the 2018 Assembly elections, after which seven defected to the BJP in 2019.

Even its vote share saw a dip by a whopping 5.01 percentage points: The party managed to garner a vote share of 13.29 percent compared to 18.3 percent in 2018.

JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda has called for a meeting in Bengaluru on 25 May.

This is also the first official meeting called by the JD(S) to carry out an analysis of the party’s performance in the Assembly elections.

JD(S) leaders HD Kumaraswamy, state president CM Ibrahim, and other senior leaders of the cadre are expected to be present in the meeting.

Also read: How many candidates from which party lost their deposits

27 incumbent MLAs lost

Of the 30 incumbent MLAs of the JD(S), only three legislators — Channapatna MLA and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, Holenarsipura MLA HD Revanna, and Chamundeshwari MLA GT Deve Gowda — managed to win the 2023 Assembly elections

Senior leaders — including Bidar South MLA Bandeppa Kashempur, Krishnarajapete MLA SR Mahesh, and Melukote MLA CS Puttaraju — lost badly.

In the Old Mysuru region, mainly in Mandya, Hassan, Ramanagara, and Mysuru, which is said to be a bastion of the JD(S), the party failed to maintain its dominance. Of the 17 incumbent JD(S) MLAs in the region, 14 lost the elections.

In a shocker, actor-cum-politician Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who is the son of Kumaraswamy, lost against Congress candidate Iqbal Hussain from the Ramanagara Assembly seat, which was represented by his mother Anita Kumaraswamy.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, the party swept Mandya by winning all seven seats. It retained just one seat (KR Pete) this time.

Similarly, the party was reduced to one seat from three seats in the Ramanagara district.

Even in Mysuru, the party held power in five seats, but now it has been reduced to two seats. There is a similar tale in the Tumakuru district.

The party introspects

JD(S) spokesperson Ramchandregowda told South First: “In the Old Mysuru region, the Vokkaligas supported the Congress and not the JD(S) as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief DK Shivakumar, who belongs to the community, campaigned extensively in the region.”

He added: “The community also favoured Shivakumar hoping that he would become the chief minister. The other factors that affected the party’s prospects in the elections are financial deficit, a division of votes, and anti-incumbency.”

He also said: “Even the BJP ate into the party’s vote share in the Old Mysuru region as it campaigned extensively in the elections. The Congress’ five guarantees were more attractive to the rural voters than the promises made in the Pancharathna Yatre voter outreach poll campaign conducted by the JD(S).”

A former JD(S) MLA, on condition of anonymity, told South First: “The main factor that affected the party’s performance in the election in Old Mysuru region was Bhavani Revanna, daughter-in-law of former prime minister Deve Gowda and spouse of JD(S) senior leader HD Revanna.”

The lawmaker explained: “The hungama she created over the Hassan Assembly seat ticket upset many party workers. The party workers were already upset over the Deve Gowda family’s dominance in the party.”

He continued: “This affected the results in Mysuru and Hassan. Kumaraswamy made efforts to restrict the family’s dominance in politics, but it went out of control ahead of the elections. The party was expecting to win in at least 50 assembly seats, but it recorded the worst performance in the last two decades.”

Related: Majority of 2019 JD(S)-Congress turncoats lose 2023 polls

Factors that affected JD(S)

JD(S) senior leaders HD Kumaraswamy, CM Ibrahim, HD Revanna, Bandeppa Kashempur, SR Mahesh and others evaluated the party’s performance recently at Deve Gowda’s residence.

The JD(S) leaders highlighted the aforementioned factors — anti-incumbency, Vokkaligas switching to the Congress, and deficit of funds — and a few more, as reasons behind the party’s debacle in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections.

On the day of polling, Kumaraswamy told reporters: “It is because of lack of party funds and financial support the party’s prospects might affect in 25-50 seats.”

In the 2023 polls, the JD(S) won a single seat (Devara Hipparagi) out of 50 in Kittur Karnataka, where it had won two seats in 2018.

In Kalyana Karnataka, it tasted success in only three seats (Devadurga, Gurmitakal, and Hagaribomanahalli), where it had won four seats in the last elections.

In Central Karnataka, the party registered victory in only one seat (Shivamogga Rural-SC), where it had not won any seats in 2018. The JD(S) yet again failed to open its account in the coastal region.

In the Old Mysuru region, the party won 14 Assembly seats, where it had won 27 in the last Assembly elections.

Related: A look the first-time MLAs in Karnataka

JD(S) leader Bandeppa Kashempur, who lost against the Congress’s Ashok Keny in Bidar South, told South First: “We received an overwhelming response during the Pancharathna Yatre, but it didn’t translate into votes.”

He pointed out: “When it comes to caste equations, the Vokkaligas, Muslims, Kurubas, SCs, and STs supported the grand old party on a large scale. The JD(S) vote share also saw a dip, where the BJP’s vote share remained at 36 percent and the Congress’ vote share surged to 42 percent.”

He continued: “We gave a tough fight in many seats, but couldn’t win. People preferred the Congress as an alternative to the BJP. There are also takeaways in this election: 16 new faces, including former MLAs, won this election.”