In a dramatic political development, the fissures within the Janata Dal (Secular) came to the fore as the party’s Karnataka-unit president CM Ibrahim in Bengaluru on Friday, 30 September, expressed his dismay over its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Smarting from the perceived lack of communication from JD(S) Legislature Party leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who orchestrated the alliance, Ibrahim revealed that he would deliberate on his future course of action after consultations with like-minded individuals on 16 October.
Highlighting the emotional connection with India bloc stalwarts like NCP leader Sharad Pawar and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, who have reached out to him, Ibrahim emphasized that the decision to align with the BJP circumvented the party’s core committee, causing him deep consternation.
Notably, the JD(S) state president cited a breach of trust, stating, “You went to Delhi, but you did not say a word to me. You haven’t told me what the discussions were about.”
As the political drama unfolded, former Union minister Ibrahim remained tight-lipped about his potential move, teasing that discussions with Congress leaders were also taking place.
After the official announcement of BJP-JD(S) for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, several minority-community leaders, including the regional party’s former vice-president Syed Shafi Ulla, tendered their resignation from the party.
A couple of MLAs, including Gurmitkal MLA Sharanagouda Kandakur, expressed dissent over the JD(S) high command’s decision to join hands with the national party for the general elections.
Kept in the dark?
Ibrahim expressed deep disappointment with Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy, citing a lack of consultation regarding the alliance with the BJP.
“Deve Gowda is like my father and Kumaraswamy is like my brother. Even today, I have the same affection for them. But what hurt me was I am the party president. You (HDK) went to Delhi, but you did not say a word to me,” Ibrahim alleged that he was ignored.
Asked about public statements coming from both the parties, Ibrahim sought to know where it happened. “At least it was not discussed in the party forum. I am the party president.”
He continued: “The decision regarding the JD(S) forging an alliance with the BJP was taken even before the core committee gave its opinion.”
A dismayed Ibrahim continued to target the JD(S) first family: “You had said the core committee would travel across the state, gather opinion and then a decision will be taken. Even before the core committee could start its tour you went to Delhi and met them (BJP leaders). That has hurt me,” dismayed Ibrahim.
On 22 September, JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda announced an alliance with the BJP in Karnataka and formally switched allegiance to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Kumaraswamy and his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who is the JD(S) youth wing president, met Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda, and made the official announcement at Delhi on the same day.
Decision on 16 October
Ibrahim said he would announce his decision on continuing in the regional party after discussing with like-minded people on 16 October.
He also said that Congress leaders had already approached him. “NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, and some Congress leaders have contacted me,” he said.
Regarding the possibilities of joining the Congress, he said: “They (Congress leaders) have spoken to me and I, too, have convened a meeting on 16 October, where I will announce my stance about this alliance. I would not take any decision without informing former prime minister Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy.”
However, he affirmed his commitment to consulting party patriarch Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy before arriving at any decision that could reshape the political landscape of Karnataka.
Ibrahim also said he intended to engage in discussions with Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda to publicly articulate his position. He said no meetings with the key party leaders had occurred so far despite he taking the initiative.
The 16 October meeting promises to be a pivotal juncture as Ibrahim contemplates the various possibilities ahead of him.
JD(S) MLAs express dissent
Several JD(S) leaders, including MLAs, have expressed unhappiness over the party high command tying up with the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections.
Gurmitkal MLA Sharanagouda Kandakur and Devadurga MLA Karemma G Nayak have publicly opposed the alliance with the national party for general elections.
Kandakur told South First on Sunday: “I will make my stand clear that I oppose the alliance with the national party because of our party’s future. It is not that I am dismayed with the high command over this alliance, but this was not necessary for the party at this moment.”
He added: “I have met JD(S) youth president Nikhil Kumaraswamy and expressed my opinion about the alliance and party’s future. It is true that several former MLAs and senior leaders are concerned about their future if we continue ties with the BJP.”
It may also be noted that on 8 February, 2019, Sharanagouda Kandakur, son of former Gurmitkal MLA Naganagouda Kandakur, carried out a sting operation on former choef minister and BJP stalwart BS Yediyurappa.
He released an audio clip where Yediyurappa was purportedly heard asking him to make his father resign from his MLA post. He had also named the then Devadurga MLA Shivanagouda Nayak, Hassan MLA Preetham Gowda, and former journalist M Maramkal.
With the JD(S) tying up with the BJP now, Sharangouda Kandakur may have to campaign for the saffron party now.
On whether Ibrahim would continue as the party president, he said: “Ibrahim is the right person to comment on this. I would not like to comment on anything. He has called a meeting on 16 October. I will attend and discuss in detail about all the developments including alliance.”
Devadurga MLA Karemma G Nayak told reporters: “The party high command might have made an alliance with the BJP, but it is impossible in my constituency. The people of my segment know how much BJP leader and former MLA Shivanagouda Naik tortured me during the elections.”
She added: “I have given my opinion about this alliance to the high command. I cannot ask my followers to support the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections because they are well aware of the atrocities of local BJP leaders against us. I will leave it to the conscience of my supporters and people.”
Responding to these, Kumaraswamy expressed confidence of resolving all the dissent within the party at the earliest and has made this alliance for the welfare of the party.