Tensions rise in Karnataka as JD(S) leaders complain of ally BJP ignoring them in Lok Sabha poll preparations

During a recent state core committee meeting of the JD(S) party, several MLAs expressed their frustration to their party leadership.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Mar 28, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedMar 28, 2024 | 10:00 AM

JD(S) state chief and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy chairing a state core committee meeting in Bengaluru city recently. (Supplied)

With less than a month remaining until the first phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, JD(S) leaders are accusing their counterparts in the BJP’s Karnataka unit of overlooking and sidelining them in meetings related to the elections across most constituencies in the state.

The JD(S) is in alliance with the BJP-led NDA in Karnataka for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. As part of this alliance, the BJP will contest in 25 Lok Sabha seats, while its partner JD(S) will contest in three seats — Hassan, Mandya, and Kolar.

As political activities gain momentum across the state, JD(S) leaders have voiced grievances to their party leadership regarding the indifferent treatment meted out by their coalition partners during the recent core committee meeting.

Allegations abound that the BJP has not extended invitations to its alliance party’s MLAs for the recent rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Shivamogga and Kalaburagi.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders have refuted these allegations and expressed confidence that any discord between coalition parties would be resolved.

The polling in Karnataka will be conducted in two phases. The first phase is for South Karnataka constituencies on 26 April, and the second phase is for North Karnataka on 7 May.

Also Read: Kolar seat turns battleground for Congress as MLAs threaten to resign

The JD(S) gripe

During a recent state-level core-committee meeting of the JD(S), several MLAs — including Devadurga’s Karemma G Nayak and Gurumitkal’s Sharangouda Kandakur — expressed their frustration to the party leadership over the behaviour of their alliance partner.

Friction between BJP and JD(S) leaders has also been reported in various parts of the state, including Kalyana Karnataka, Kittur Karnataka, and central Karnataka, alleged leaders and workers of the regional party.

Acknowledging the strained relations with the alliance partner, Karemma Nayak told South First, “It is true that local BJP leaders rarely involve JD(S) leaders in meetings or events related to the Lok Sabha elections. We raised this disparity with our party’s Karnataka unit chief HD Kumaraswamy in the core committee meeting.”

He added: “In response, JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda emphasised the need for all MLAs and party workers to ensure the victory of the BJP candidates.”

She added that since the declaration of the BJP ticket for Raichur (ST), nominee Raja Amareshwara Nayak called her only once seeking the JD(S)’s support.

“I have assured him full support. However, we don’t enjoy cordial relationships with the BJP leaders in Devadurga. Hence, we will be staying away from the local saffron party leaders,” MLA Nayak reiterated that she is firm with her decision and conveyed the same to the party leadership.

Also Read: Political will will determine North Karnataka’s development

BJP, JD(S) workers to meet on 29 March

Amid escalating tensions within the JD(S) over the alleged sidelining by BJP’s Karnataka unit, leaders and party workers from the NDA alliance partners are scheduled to hold meetings across the state to address these disagreements.

In an effort to achieve coordination, it is anticipated that separate election committees will be formed in all constituencies, where both party workers will participate, according to sources.

While the alliance party workers’ meeting is slated for 29 March, JD(S) leaders from Kalaburagi, Yadgir, and Raichur have stated that they will take a call regarding extending support to the BJP only after the outcome of this meeting.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a JD(S) MLA told South First, “We have expressed all our concerns to the high command, who have called for a meeting of both party leaders and workers to resolve issues. Based on the 29 March meeting’s outcome, leaders from Kalyana Karnataka will announce their decision on extending support to the BJP. We have clearly witnessed that the BJP leaders are not taking us into confidence in Raichur, Yadgir, and Kalaburagi.”

“Even for the Prime Minister’s event in Kalaburagi, the JD(S) leaders were not invited. If they are not willing to consider us for poll rallies and meetings, then why should they go for an alliance?” asked the dismayed MLA.

Also Read: Some JD(S) workers oppose Kumaraswamy’s intention to contest from Mandya

JD(S) leadership will resolve differences: MLA

With several JD(S) leaders, including MLAs, voicing grievances against BJP leaders, JD(S) state chief and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has reportedly assured swift resolution of differences at the earliest.

Evidence of discord between the BJP and the JD(S) emerged during a meeting chaired by BJP’s Tumakuru nominee, senior Lingayat leader, and former minister V Somanna. The tussle between local leaders of both parties was eventually quelled after an intervention.

While the protest was underway, several JD(S) leaders openly opposed V Somanna’s candidacy for the Tumakuru seat. The BJP high command fielded Somanna, replacing incumbent MP G Basavaraj. However, after the intervention of the gathered leaders, the fight between the two parties was controlled.

With tensions escalating between the alliance partners, the JD(S) leadership has undertaken the responsibility to resolve differences.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the JD(S) MLA told South First, “Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy have assured us of addressing concerns raised in the core committee meeting. Leaders from both parties will convene to resolve differences promptly.”

(Edited by Kamna Revanoor)