Will Deve Gowda upset all Karnataka calculations with alliances?
New Delhi, April 17: Will the Janata Dal (S) stalwart HD Deve Gowda upset the applecart of both the national parties—the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—by his last minute alliances with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen?
Former Prime Minister Deve Gowada, who is contesting probably his last electoral battle, is in the fray like a man possessed. Aware that he is a pale shadow of the 1980s when he gave a tough fight to stalwart Ramakrishan Hedge, Deve Gowda’s best chance would be a hung Assembly.
A past master in maximising political returns, Deve Gowda’s best prospect would be to see a repeat of the 2004 Assembly polls when JD(S) bagged 54 seats. He used the JD(S) strength to undermine Siddaramaiah, who was front runner for Chief Minister’s office and backed Congress leader N. Dharam Singh. Later in 2006, Deve Gowda's son HD Kumarswamy split the coalition and joined hands with the BJP to form the government with HD Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister.
The target of the JD(S) alliance remains the Congress leader and one time protégé Siddaramaiah, who fell out with the former Prime Minister as he sought to project son as his successor in the JD(S). Dalits and minorities have largely been traditional voters of the Congress party in the State. JD(S) alliance with AIMIM and BSP would enable the party to garner votes beyond the Vokkaliga strongholds. Any adverse fallout for the Congress will benefit the BJP, which is seeking to wrest the State from the Congress.
A gain in Karnataka will give an impetus to BJP in its battle for 2019 general elections, while a win in the State will be a major boost for the Congress as it remains the only big State barring Punjab in its kitty.
Results in Karnataka will be a mood swinger for both the Congress and the BJP as they enter the tough terrain of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year.
Can the original accidental Prime Minister Deve Gowda pull off the gamble once again?
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