Mr Kumaraswamy could try a trick or two if his party manages to win over 50 seats.
If parties could win elections based on their manifestos, the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP, that released a well-crafted separate charter to solve Bengaluru’s ills on Tuesday, would all win hands down. But the JD(S) may be taking it one step further in poll-bound Karnataka, where there’s clearly more to its promise of farm loan waivers than meets the eye. Coming with the startling climbdown that it will support any party which backed the JD(S) manifesto, it again opened up the leadership to allegations of a backroom deal with the BJP.
JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda and his son H.D. Kumaraswamy, the state unit chief, are already at the receiving end of the Congress’ ire over becoming the BJP’s “B” team. Despite denials, neither JD(S) leader has scotched speculation that the party will break with its avowed policy against a post-poll alliance, and play kingmaker, albeit with a rider or two — a Siddaramaiah-mukt Congress government for one.
Clearly, Mr Gowda’s attempt to forge a non-Congress alliance with pre-poll partners NCP and BSP will be at risk if the JD(S) inches any closer to the BJP. He also risks isolation in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
To the public the JD(S) still insists, like the BJP and Congress, that they need nobody’s support and will win enough seats in the May 12 Assembly polls to form a government on its own. But an ambitious
Mr Kumaraswamy could try a trick or two if his party manages to win over 50 seats. Gowda Junior knows it pays to play kingmaker in case of a hung Assembly, backed by a manifesto that feeds into farmers’ grievances in his party’s stronghold in the south.