BSY, HDK scotch reports of JD(S)-BJP merger
But neither dismiss talk of possible alliance; Kumaraswamy says issue-based support to ruling party is possible, if need be
Amidst speculations of a possible merger of the Janata Dal (Secular) with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and former Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy — in separate statements on Sunday — dismissed those reports. However, neither of them denied that they were in talks over a possible alliance.
What was in circulation in the political rumour mills for a couple of months now gained credence on Sunday, with senior JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti, an aspirant to become chairman of the Legislative Council in a new JD(S)-BJP alliance, speaking to mediapersons and stating that there has been talks between the two parties. “Our leader Mr. Kumaraswamy has been in talks with the BJP. There have been discussions about seat-sharing with the BJP and also whether we should be part of the government or not. We [JD(S) legislators] will tell our opinion on the matter within the party forum when it is placed before us,” he said. “Presently, what can we do when Congress is hammering us everyday? So supporting BJP has become inevitable now,” he added.
Lobbying for post
Sources in the JD(S) said Mr. Horatti has been lobbying to become Council chairman with the BJP’s support and the statement needs to be seen in that light.
However, the statement comes in the wake of recent indications of JD(S) moving closer to BJP, over Mr. Kumaraswamy meeting the Chief Minister multiple times extending support to the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2020 in the Council and supporting the no-confidence motion against Council’s chairman from Congress.
Mr. Kumaraswamy, when asked about his new found closeness to BJP, had cryptically said: “Anything can happen in politics and I’m not an astrologer to predict the future,” denying reports of a merger. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing him on his birthday was also seen as an indication of the BJP courting the regional party.
Hours later denials came. Mr. Kumaraswamy dismissed rumours of a merger with BJP saying JD(S) “will never display such stupidity” and that “the situation of committing suicide by merging itself with other party has not come.”
He added that he doesn’t foresee such a situation in future too. However, he did not deny he was in talks with the BJP. “At the most, we may extend an issue-based support to the BJP if need be in the coming days in public interest…There is no tacit understanding with the BJP as being alleged by the Congress. Only an issue-based understanding is possible,” he tweeted.
Mr. Yediyurappa also issued a denial. In a statement, he said though JD(S) has extended support to the BJP on the issue of Council chairman’s post, the reports of JD(S) legislators joining BJP or merger of two parties are lies.
“There is nothing beyond JD(S) extending support on the Council chairman issue. Mr. Kumaraswamy has already said that they will not support the anti-cow slaughter Bill and we are bringing an Ordinance in this matter. There is no such [merger] situation. The Assembly elections are still more than two-and-a-half years away,” his statement said.