BJP-JD(S) merger buzz revives debate on 2-party model in Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Talk of a merger between BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) has reignated a debate in political circles about whether the three-party system in the state — believed to be the cause of many a fractured verdict, alliance politics and flipping of chief ministers by ruling parties in the past four decades — is nearing its end.
Sources said both parties are weighing the option ahead of the 2023 assembly polls and the brass on either side have reportedly held unofficial parleys in this regard.
Since 1980, only two successive governments have completed their full terms — one led by D Devaraj Urs and another by Siddaramaiah. The move for a merger is being seen as a bid for political survival by JD(S) while BJP is staring at a leadership crisis in Karnataka. Several MLAs and MLCs have deserted JD(S) in the past few months and the party is facing more exits.
Congress functionary and senior advocate Brijesh Kalappa talk of a merger is purely hypothetical and far-fetched, “given the circumstances under which we assumed office in 2018 and what transpired thereafter”.
Some observers feel a two-party system will serve the state well by restoring long absent political stability and fostering growth while curbing political malpractices to topple governments. They cite the example of Tamil Nadu which, with two dominant parties, has seen a hung assembly or an opposition strong enough to stall bills and counter the ruling party in the assembly. Either DMK or AIADMK has formed the government since 1967. In any case, they feel, ideological considerations will not further the exit of or retain JD(S) members.
“Karnataka has always had a bi-party system with a distant third player. The third player may have initially (since 1983) been BJP, later KCP and Lok Shakti and more recently JD(S). If the merger talks truly go forward it would be more on account of the compulsions of the JD(S) leadership family. It would surely lead to a realignment as segments of the JD(S) may prefer to move to Congress,” said Sandeep Shastri, a political analyst.
“Merger of the JD(S) into BJP cannot rewrite history and the idea of two-party systems helping the cause of Karnataka is a misnomer. What is apparent though is the party interest of JD(S) which has a blurred future because of its family-centric loyalties. Congress is a classical case in focus in this respect that the alliance won’t work in the state,” said Prof Harish Ramaswamy, another political analyst.
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Sagar Biswas

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