A day after senior Janata Dal (Secular) leader Basavaraj Horatti declared that his party and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were ‘natural allies’ leaders of both parties rushed to squash any speculation on this count. Horatti, a former Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council and an MLC at present had made the statement triggering speculation especially as BJP and JD(S) had tried to jointly oust the current Council chairman K Prathapachandra Shetty who belongs to Congress.
The regional JD(S) had also helped the BJP pass a controversial farm bill in the upper house of the state where the saffron party does not enjoy a majority. On Sunday, senior JD(S) MLA from Gubbi constituency SR Srinivas who is also a former education minister had met with Congress leader K N Rajanna leading to speculation that he is ready to jump ship.
Srinivas claimed that he had not taken any decision; he said that if JD(S) joined hands with BJP, a large chunk of the regional party leaders including legislators may look at a secular alternative. “I have never agreed with the policies and programmes of BJP.”
Immediately, former CM and JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets said, “The Janata Dal (S), which is a party of Kannadigas with self-esteem, will never think of political merger. The party, which is a strong voice of the people, will never display such stupidity. At the most, we may extend issue-based support to the BJP if need be in the coming days in public interest. There is no importance for any imaginary reports on the political merger.”
Pointing out that the Congress high command had ridiculed JD(S) as BJP’s B team before the Assembly polls, and had actually come to the regional party’s doorsteps after the polls to extend an invitation to form a coalition government with it. “We would not have formed the government with the Congress if we’re to be BJP’s B team. There is no tacit understanding with the BJP as being alleged by the Congress. Only an issue-based understanding is possible,” Kumaraswamy claimed.
The JD(S) chief further declared, “I want to clarify that for such a party like the JD(S), the situation of committing suicide by merging itself with another party has not come. I don’t foresee such a situation gripping us in future too.”
In an unusual move, CM Yediyurappa also in a statement to the media claimed that while it was true that JD(S) had extended issue-based support in the council, there was no truth in the regional party merging into the BJP. Pointing out that JD(S) had even opposed the anti-cow slaughter legislation brought forward by the state government; Yediyurappa said that they have had to issue an ordinance to make it a law as the BJP did not enjoy a majority in the council.
The CM said that since assembly polls were two and half years away, speculation around JD(S) merging with the BJP was false. However, senior political analyst Arvind said, “Nobody can deny that JD(S) has been adopting a friendly approach towards BJP in the last few months after its bitter breakup with its erstwhile ally Congress. But the old adage of never believe a rumour unless it is officially denied holds true here. While no immediate merger may be on the cards, they are likely to cooperate more with each other to keep the Congress at bay.”