By Sandhya Ravishankar
As the election campaign heats up in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai as well as Karnataka Congress State President DK Shivakumar made their views on the Janata Dal (Secular) crystal clear.
Both parties, having been bitten at least once by the JD(S), are now firm that they will not ally with the JD(S) again in the future.
At the CNN News18 Townhall event held at Hotel Lalit Ashok in Bengaluru, Chief Minister Bommai stated confidently that the BJP would cross 130 seats out of 224 and come to power on a majority.
When asked about whether an alliance with the JD(S) was an option, in the event of a hung Assembly, the CM categorically responded in the negative.
“People of the state have now realised that they have to give a decisive mandate. Always a hung mandate has resulted totally in a chaos situation (sic) both politically and administratively and in development,” said Bommai. “There are 2 ways of playing a game – one is to play not to lose. The other one is to play to win. And I believe in the second one.”
Host Zakka Jacob asked the CM whether the BJP would consider an alliance with the JD(S) if the party won 25-30 seats.
To this, Bommai replied – “There is no question of that. We are going to win. There are no ifs and buts.”
As for the Congress, President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), DK Shivakumar, claimed that the party would win 140 seats on their own.
When asked whether he was open to allying with the JD(S) if the need arose, Shivakumar gave a firm no in the rapidfire round.
“No, I think it is not needed now. Congress will come to power on its own,” he said.
The JD(S) has been an unreliable ally in the past and both the Congress and the BJP have been stung by the ambition of its leader HD Kumaraswamy. Since 2004, thanks to largely hung electoral verdicts, the JD(S) formed governments with HD Kumaraswamy at the helm first with the Congress and then when asked to hand over the reins of power as per the handshake, jumped ship to the BJP in 2006.
Kumaraswamy repeated the same tactic with the BJP, refusing to hand over power after the agreed upon 20 months. But the BJP walked out of the alliance and formed the government with the support of Independents in 2008.
In 2018, the Congress and the JD(S) once again joined hands until the BJP won a trust vote in the Assembly in 2019 and took charge of the government.
However, in the event of a hung verdict, both the BJP and the Congress will need the support of the JD(S) to form again.