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Bengaluru: In a surprising turn of events that has rattled Karnataka’s political arena, discussions between the BJP and JDS alliance have reached a pivotal stage leading up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The high-stakes negotiations have stirred up turmoil within the BJP, leaving several of its leaders and incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) in a state of uncertainty.
Numerous prominent BJP leaders who oppose the JDS alliance now find themselves caught in the crossfire of these negotiations, raising concerns that their prospects of securing a BJP ticket may be at risk. This group includes individuals like MP Sumalatha Ambarish, who aspires to receive a BJP ticket in Mandya; former MP Mudda Hanumegowda, who is vying for a BJP ticket in Tumkur; former MLAs AT Ramaswami and Pritam Gowda, who are preparing to challenge the Gowda family in Hassan; former minister Dr. K. Sudhakar in Chikkaballapur; and incumbent MP Muniswami in Kolar, among others.
The simmering tension has now erupted into open conflict, with figures like former minister CP Yogeshwar and his counterparts, who are vying for the BJP ticket in Bengaluru countryside, locked in intense political battles to secure their futures. The potential BJP-JDS alliance has not only left ticket hopefuls but also other party leaders feeling uneasy about their upcoming moves in the political landscape.
A significant source of contention emerges for individuals who have previously been vocal opponents of the JDS. Leaders like former minister and current MLA ST Somasekhar and former deputy chief minister Dr. C. Aswath Narayan are now confronted with the challenge of forming an alliance with the secular Janata Dal, a party they had been in direct competition with. They must now chart their future political trajectories in light of these unforeseen developments.
Amidst this atmosphere of uncertainty, Bengaluru’s Yashwantpur MLA, ST Somashekhar, who is rumored to be contemplating a shift to the Congress party, is closely observing the situation and prepared to take swift action if the BJP indeed solidifies an alliance with the JDS. Somashekhar had emerged victorious against a JDS candidate in the Yeshavantpur constituency, and like many others, he finds himself uncertain about his political direction should this alliance come to fruition.
The uncertainty also affects other prominent figures. Former minister K. Gopalaiah, who switched from the JDS during Operation Kamala, and Narayana Gowda in the Mandya district share equal concerns regarding the BJP’s potential alliance with the JDS.
Even the seasoned actress Sumalatha Ambareesh, renowned for her independent victory over JDS candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya, is now in the midst of alliance discussions. Sumalatha, who is preparing to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Mandya with BJP’s support, faces the looming possibility of relinquishing the Mandya constituency to the JDS. There is speculation that the BJP might contemplate fielding Sumalatha Ambareesh in the Bengaluru North Lok Sabha seat if Mandya aligns with the JDS, which could potentially displace the incumbent BJP MP, former Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.
The potential alliance between the BJP and JDS has sparked a political uproar among BJP Lok Sabha ticket contenders and leaders in Southern Karnataka. There’s a belief that this alliance could benefit Mysuru Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha, especially in the Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency, which has a significant Okkaliga population. Simha’s plan revolves around gaining JDS support to enhance his prospects against the Congress, and his previous election victory with indirect JDS backing reinforces this perspective.
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, when discussing the BJP-JDS alliance, indicated that discussions on their potential friendship were at an early stage. He stressed the significance of seeking input from party members and leaders before arriving at a conclusive decision, hinting that forming an alliance might be crucial in addressing what is perceived as inadequate governance by the Congress in the state.
Former Deputy Chief Minister of the BJP, Dr. Ashwattha Narayana, stated that he had limited information about the alliance discussions. Meanwhile, BJP’s top leader, BS Yeddyurappa, hinted at the possibility of allocating four constituencies to JD(S) as part of the alliance, although an official party announcement on this matter is still pending.
Distinguished BJP figures, such as former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai, have publicly embraced the alliance negotiations. Bommai, in particular, has conveyed a positive outlook on the advantages that an alliance could offer the BJP. Nonetheless, the talks around this potential partnership have ignited a spirited debate, particularly within the BJP, as they contend with the potential consequences of such an alliance.
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