By M.K. Ashoka
Bengaluru, Mar 19 (IANS): With the Assembly elections nearing, the political scenario in Karnataka is becoming intriguing as the national parties BJP and the Congress are preparing to make an all-out bid for power, while the dark horse JD-S is eying to play the role of kingmaker.
JD-S leaders are hopeful that with the present state of affairs they will win between 25 to 35 seats in the Assembly. This will compel both the national parties to knock on its doors seeking an alliance.
The JD-S had formed coalition governments with both the Congress and the BJP earlier. H.D. Kumaraswamy, former chief minister and son of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, has confidently stated that after the elections the leaders of both the national parties will come to him.
Kumaraswamy embarked on a statewide tour -- Pancharatna Yatra -- and addressed public rallies all across the state. He was able to attract a good number of people throughout the tour including in north Karnataka.
The JD-S derives its strength from the Vokkaliga belt, i.e. the south Karnataka region. The ruling BJP is making an all out effort to make inroads in the southern region of the state to manage a simple majority. So far, its attempts have fallen flat.
During the tenure of former CM BS Yediyurappa, though inroads were made by winning seats in Mandya, Hassan and Ramnagar districts, the majority of the people stood firmly with the JD (S). Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are vociferously telling the people of Karnataka not to vote for the JD-S.
They maintained that voting for the JD-S is as good as voting for the Congress party. They also harped on the family politics practised by the JD-S. The JD-S wants to be the beneficiary of the BJP infighting and the rivalry between Congress state president D.K. Shivakumar and Opposition leader Siddaramaiah.
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has vowed that he will see to it that the JD-S grabs power in the upcoming elections.
However, all is not well within the JD-S as well. A family feud has come out in the open over Bhavani Revanna, the daughter-in-law of Deve Gowda, contesting. Bhavani Revanna is all set to stand from Hassan segment, presently held by the BJP.
Kumaraswamy is not willing to allot a ticket to Bhavani Revanna for various reasons. He is being questioned indirectly by JD-S MLA Suraj Revanna. Bhavani is the wife of former minister H.D. Revanna, the elder son of Deve Gowda. Revanna's elder son Prajwal Revanna is a Member of Parliament.
Kumaraswamy is set to field his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy for the MLA seat from Ramnagar, presently held by his wife Anita Kumaraswamy. Talking about family politics, Kumaraswamy has attacked the national parties that he would release a long list of family members being fielded by the Congress and the BJP. Kumaraswamy maintained that his family members are elected by the people, they are not making a backdoor entry.
The JD-S faced a question of survival after a series of senior leaders quit the party to join either the Congress or the BJP. Even after losing a major chunk of its leadership, the party is giving stiff competition to the national parties.
Also to be seen is whether the Vokkaliga community, which has stood firmly with former PM Deve Gowda, will give a chance to Shivakumar, also a Vokkaliga, who is being projected as the CM candidate by the Congress.