The unconditional support from the Congress to the JDS is something rather fascinating for those who are aware of the political history of Karnataka. Congress did not hesitate to give up their shot at the Chief Ministerial post to HD Kumaraswamy. Now, Kumaraswamy is sitting in lap of the Congress, the same Congress that back stabbed him in 2006. The story goes back to the Twelfth Assembly Elections in 2004. Karnataka, following its decades long tradition, voted the opposition of the centre as the largest party in the state. This is the first election where the BJP had turned up as the single largest party in Karnataka, having won 79 seats out of the total of 224 contested. The Congress, which had 132 seats in the previous elections, was reduced to a mere 65 while the JDS got 58.
The Congress and JDS formed a “secular” coalition to keep the BJP out of power. The two parties agreed to the “Maharashtra Model of Coalition” where Congress got the Chief Minister’s post, while JDS ended up with portfolios such as Home, Finance and Power. Congress may have gotten the Chief Minister’s post but SM Krishna was allowed to continue since he was from the Vokkaliga community, the main voter base of the JDS. So the search for a new Chief Minister ended with late N Dharam Singh, a Rajput from the Gulbarga district of Karnataka. N Dharam Singh was chosen for following reasons; first because Rajputs did not have a significant voter base; second, because he was known as “ajaatshatru” (acceptable across the party lines and leaders) and third because he enjoyed considerable support in Hyderabad Karnataka with a track record of winning seven Assembly Elections consecutively.
The alliance could not hold together for even two years as HD Kumaraswamy, son of JDS patron H. D. Deve Gowda, had himself set his sights on the post of the Chief Minister. Deve Gowda had handed over the reins of the party a few months earlier due to illness. Kumaraswamy bargained with the Congress for the Chief Minister’s post but they did not agree to his demands. Upset and dejected, Kumaraswamy backed out of the coalition and the government collapsed. JDS formed a coalition with the BJP, with both agreeing that the Chief Minister’s post will be held for 20 months by the BJP and 20 months by the JDS. Kumaraswamy was Chief Minister of Karnataka for the next 20 months between February 2006 and October 2007. When it was BJP’s turn to bag the Chief Minister’s post, the JDS backstabbed Yeddyurappa by pulling out of the coalition. The government fell and all parties called for free elections without the completion of the ongoing assembly.
Therefore, the political history of JDS clearly shows that it is habituated to backstabbing and opportunism. It backstabbed the Congress in 2006 and the BJP in 2008. The alliance of Congress and JDS is destined to fail in the near future, even if they form a government. As the popular saying goes “Anything is possible in politics”, the desperation to stop the BJP from making government in Karnataka has forced both parties into an unlikely and opportunistic alliance. Congress, despite having prior experience of being backstabbed by the JDS in the past, still chose to support Kumaraswamy unconditionally. This shows how weak the party has become over the years due to its blatantly nepotistic politics.