JD(S) sees further decline in Vokkaliga heartland
The Janata Dal (Secular), which registered victories in two of the six constituencies that it had contested in the Legislative Council polls, had to suffer an embarrassing defeat in Mandya, the heartland of Vokkaliga politics. In all, it lost three seats to its main political rival, the Congress, in the Vokkaliga-dominated region and also wrested one.
While the two victories for the JD(S) came from Hassan, where the party patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda’s grandson Suraj Revanna won comfortably, and Mysuru, where candidate Manje Gowda scraped through, the party failed to retain Tumakuru and Kolar. In his electoral debut, Mr. Suraj Revanna became the seventh person from Mr. Gowda’s family to register a poll victory.
With the defeats, the party’s strength in the Upper House is down to 10 from the current 12. In Mandya, the party’s chief whip N. Appaji Gowda lost by a narrow margin of 97 votes. The party will be worried about the resurgence of the Congress in Vokkaliga-dominated districts of Mandya, Tumakuru, and Kolar after community leader D.K. Shivakumar became KPCC president.
Reacting to the results, H.D. Kumaraswamy told reporters in Delhi that the results showed that the JD(S) had been defeated due to “internal understanding between the BJP and the Congress” in Mandya, Kolar, and Tumakuru. “It was a ploy to humiliate us. However, our votes have remained intact in all these districts. We are focused on the 2023 Assembly polls,” he said.
Party sources, however, pointed to the differences that the party leadership has with its legislators from these districts. “Some legislators in Tumakuru and Kolar have had no communication. Their role would have played an important role,” sources said.
Sources said, “The confusion over a speculated alliance with the BJP, which was clarified only a few days before the polls, has definitely damaged party prospects. The JD(S) did not send a clear signal till a couple of days before the polling day.”
The party’s performance since 2018 has been dismal. Barring three of the family members — Anitha Kumaraswamy from Ramanagaram in a bypoll, Prajwal Revanna from Hassan in the Lok Sabha election and now Mr. Suraj Revanna — and Mr. Manje Gowda none of the candidates have been able to win. The party failed to retain key constituencies of K.R. Pet, Hunsur, Mahalakshmi Layout, and Sira that it had won in 2018 during the by elections held subsequently.
New chief whips
When the next legislature session is held, the Legislative Council will not only get a new leader of the Opposition, but also new chief whips for all parties. For, the chief whips of the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) Mahantesh Kavatagimath and N. Appaji Gowda, respectively, lost the poll battle, Congress chief whip M. Narayanswamy did not contest. The current leader of the Opposition S.R. Patil was denied the ticket by the Congress.