In a controversial statement, the JDS leader and Minister for Higher Education in Karnataka government, GT Deve Gowda claimed that his party workers in a few parts of Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency had voted for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Mr. Deve Gowda told reporters, “There were some differences between the two parties. Those who were in Congress voted for Congress and those in JDS voted for the BJP. Similar things happened elsewhere too.” Congress and JDS had fought the Lok Sabha elections together but the sharing of seats was marred by the difference between the members of the two parties. Deve Gowda, further added that BJP couldn’t gain if the two parties, that is Congress and JDS combined together as one force.
The disloyalty of the JDS supporters can be shown in light of the political significance of the two communities in Karnataka, the Lingaytas and Vokkaliga. The Vokkaligas are the second largest community in Karnataka after the Lingayats, this shows their political significance. The Vokkaligas, a primarily agrarian community, who bore the greatest share of the brunt of populist policies under the Siddaramaiah government. The Vokkaligas voted against the Congress out of anger and resentment against Siddaramaiah’s anti-Vokkaliga policies. They voted for JDS and even BJP where the JDS was not strong enough. The Vokkaligas had voted to keep the Congress out of power and had pinned all their hopes on Kumaraswamy for that purpose. However, Kumaraswamy misused their support in order to bring Congress back into power.
The loyalists of the JDS have finally revolted against the party they once trusted due to the betrayal faced by them. They not only have a reason but also a method to answer this Congress-JDS government. It is possible that the claim is true, as BJP emerges as a potential option to the betrayed Vokkaliga community in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress party state president of Karnataka, Dinesh Gundu Rao, was surprised at Deve Gowda’s statement and said that it might not be good for the coalition government. He said, “I am not able to figure out how he (Mr Gowda) had worked during the election because he has given contradictory statements. Such statements are not good for the coalition government.”
Rao expressed his discontentment about the statement of the JDS leader. He further added, “We formed the coalition much earlier. There was no delay in forming the coalition. It was announced much earlier that Mysuru will be given to Congress as per the seat sharing agreement. I don’t know in which context Gowda spoke.”
While the Congress and other JDS leaders are surprised as to why Deve Gowda made such a statement, BJP leader R Ashok said that it is the voice of the people. The former deputy chief minister Ashok said, “GT Deve Gowda’s statement is the voice of the people. It is the opinion of the workers of both the political parties.”
After making the controversial statement, Deve Gowda went into the damage control mode. He then claimed that the votes in favour of the BJP candidate were restricted to only one village of Udhur in Chamundeshwari. It is evident that JDS is on the path of losing its existence in the politics of Karnataka. Congress has secured its Muslim and Dalit votes by making its minority appeasement agenda outright, BJP has grown stronger in the state. With all these developments, JDS is definitely going to receive the brunt of its betrayal. The JDS leaders failed to calculate the consequences that the party will be facing in the next assembly elections.