Former Karnataka chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, citing the Congress’s purported alliance with the Shiv Sena to form the government in Maharashtra, has suggested that his own party is not averse to shoring up the ruling BJP in Karnataka, in case the saffron party fails to muster enough seats to remain in power after the December 5 bypolls to 15 Assembly seats.
Kumaraswamy suggested that the JD(S) should not be criticised for abandoning its secular credentials and allying with the BJP.
“What does the Congress have to say about developments in Maharashtra? Everybody knows that the Shiv Sena has a held a harder position on Hindutva than the BJP. Now they are talking of allying with such an ideology and they are pointing fingers in Karnataka at my party and accusing us of moving closer to the communal BJP,” Kumaraswamy said at a pre-poll event in the Hunsur region last week.
“Congress leader Siddaramaiah keeps calling the BJP and its allies communal but what is happening in Maharashtra now?” he asked.
Calling the BJP in Maharashtra the “soft face of Hindutva”, Kumaraswamy said that the Congress should join hands with the saffron party. “They have constantly talked of soft Hindutva and hard Hindutva. In Maharashtra it is the BJP that is the face of soft Hindutva while the Shiv Sena is the face of hard Hindutva. The Congress is now venturing to join forces with hard Hindutva. They might as well have joined hands with the soft Hindutva of the BJP and formed a government in Maharashtra and ended the political turmoil in that state,” he said.
The JD(S) leader also said that all parties do whatever is beneficial for themselves. “Today all parties are involved in opportunistic politics. They do whatever is beneficial for their party. There is no need to criticise the JD(S), and before criticising the JD(S), they need to look at their own actions. In Karnataka the JD(S) at this time is not allied with any party. We are equidistant from both the national parties,” he said.
In 2006, the JD(S) had allied with the BJP to form the state government, with Kumaraswamy as chief minister. However, 20 months later the JD(S) pulled the plug on the coalition, citing party leader H D Deve Gowda’s intent to protect the secular credentials of the party.
In 2018, the JD(S) and the Congress formed a post-poll alliance, with Kumaraswamy as chief minister, to keep the “communal” BJP out of power. However, Kumaraswamy was deposed in July after 17 rebel MLAs from the coalition defected to the BJP.
With 15 seats set for bypolls next month, the JD(S), which has 34 MLAs in the state Assembly, has shown signs of warming up to the BJP, which has 105 legislators and needs to win at least eight seats in order to retain a thin majority in the 224-member House.