TalhaGulbargavi || DeccanDigest: This afternoon we were greeted with the announcement of JDS BSP Alliance. Since the beginning of election season the JDS has been silently covering the ground and have more effectively understood its strength and weaknesses. The Kumaraswamy led party has been working diligently on those points to become atleast the king maker in the upcoming assembly. Although it gave a target Kumaranna 150, even the newest of analysts knew that it was a improbable task. The 5 way Caste fight in Karnataka has left JDS in search of allies in Muslim,Dalits,Others(Kurubas and STs etc) and Lingayats. The Article below presents a case where JDS allied with SDPI (This is a Shortened Article that deals with Muslim Question and More specifically SDPI , the full article that deals with all four can be read here)
Coming to the Muslim issue: Janata Dal has a good history of developing the Muslim leadership. Almost all the Muslim leaders in Congress have been nurtured by JDS. It was a miscalculation by Kumaraswamy added with the Demise of Meraj Patel, drove Muslims away from JDS. recent exit of Zameer Ahmed Khan and others have severely dented JDS. And have left it without any Muslim Face.
JDS leadership under HD DeveGowda (who commands considerable respect in Muslims) is working on two prong strategies to get the Muslim vote on its side. The first is to poach Muslim leaders from congress, the recently nominated MLC CM Ibraheem who is irked by the Congress for not giving him a Ministerial Berth is said to have grown close. It was reported by some sources that he has demanded Minimum of State Presidency if he was to return to JDS. Mysore Minister Tanveer Seth is another One who is said to be ready to Jump the Ship. But his Jump is both initiated and stopped by the next step of SDPI. If SDPI goes solo or allies with JDS then Tanveer Seth will stay put in Congress, if SDPI allies with Congress then Tanveer Seth will jump into JDS, however, as his defeat is imminent, and his leadership diminished, JDS would be doing a great disservice to themselves if they admitted him.
The second strategy way is to ally With Muslim parties the JDS was reported to be in talks of alliance with MIM, Asaduddin Owaisi even went on to describe Kumar Swamy the best Leader in Karnataka. But if the list of JDS BSP is seen then it is clear that JDS MIM alliance has broken down. The List features Bidar North, which is where MIM intends to fight the election, and that has been given to BSP (BSP vice President Karnataka Zulfeqar Hashmi being the probable candidate).
That leaves JDS with SDPI option, it’s not new, however, as the SDPI and JDS have fought SDPI elections together earlier. And SDPI has fought elections with BSP as well. Apart from that the SDPI holds key to atleast 10-15 seats in Mysore belt, which is why CM Siddaramaiah is said to be very keen on alliance with SDPI as well. The SDPI candidate in Narasimharaja constituency had come second last time with JDS coming third. In an event of SDPI-JDS-BSP alliance, the SDPI would surely open its account, meanwhile in Bangalore Urban seats the SDPI commanded a healthy vote bank and got 4th place. The party also got 4 th position in many Mysore seats. In Sarvagnanagar the SDPI candidates got 30000 votes in bbmp elections, while it garnered another 30 thousand votes in the other seats of BBMP .
The SDPI which had gained 98249 (3.27 %) votes by contesting in alliance with BSP last time, had now more than quadruples its tally in the state. With the Anti-incumbency against congress in Minorities added with its stand on triple talaq , SDPI is positioned to make a severe dent on Congress Vote Banks . The BSP which had contested in 174 seats was able to garner 2% votes in the places it contested. Which means that SDPI even outperformed the BSP its elder partner. A highly places Source in SDPI claimed that this time the SDPI will get roughly 4Lakh Votes in at least 30-35 Constituencies and will be targeting 50 seats over all.
As a Cadre based party the SDPI does hold the Key for that. the recent Popular front Program in Karnataka saw more than 1.5-2 Lakh People gather in The Palace grounds, Coincidentally JDS Supremo HD Devegowda Was the Guest of the Program. Bangalore literally came to a Standstill . The Cadre of SDPI which works on ideological strength is harder to demoralize or Break with money. Its strength showed when the SDPI was able to garner 7000 votes in Bihar against the TejPratap Yadav himself in Grand alliance wave. At the Karnataka Level, with 3.3% votes (~approximately 1Lakh) in seats contested, the SDPI Stood in 6 in state in the Parties that contested at least 20 Seats (10% of Total Seats) if counted marginally behind the BSR congress party. In a Three way fight a 5% shift here and there would spell doom to any party and would bring heavy dividends for a party or Alliance.
The SDPI unlike MIM doesn’t suffer from the perception issue and the media Hostility. The popular support for SDPI is majorly among the middle class and poor sections alike. Through The Work done by SDPI and Popular Front of India and other various community outfits, SDPI has now commanded a significance and may damage or help any party on 25-30 seats at the Minimum . Apart from That with the help Of Nationally acclaimed Muslim scholars like Sajjad Nomani Sahab etc, SDPI is very quickly emerging as a National alternative to Muslims.
What may be a addition is that SDPI has been able to make steady inroads in Backward class, The Dalit and Christian Votebanks too. unlike other Muslim parties SDPI has been able to attract the Dalit activities to its fold and have fielded them and got good results, in Last election 3 SDPI Dali Candidates gathered good votes and came 3rd , 4th and 5th . With the Help of Popular Front, NCHRO and other Forums, SDPI has been able to rope in many State and National level activists such as CS DwarkaNath, Jignesh Mevani and etc.
Apart from that JDS maynot have to sacrifice 20-25 seats as it did to BSP because SDPI has some committed core voters in Some particular seats in Bangalore Urban, Rural, Old Mysore, Hyderabad and Coastal Belts. SarvagnaNagar, PulakeshiNagar, Chickpet,ChamrajaPet, Ramanagaram, Hebbal, Mandya , Gulbarga North , Raichur City, Koppal, Gangavathi and many others. What It may cost JDs is not more than 10 seats . More than half of those in Coastal belt where JDS is weaker than SDPi even. SDPI will be Content with NR assembly in Mysore, 2-3 Seats in Bangalore urban, 3-4 Seats in Coastal belt and 2-3 Seats in North Karnataka.
So there it is, the out of the four voting blocks the JDS seems to have worked out a strategy to consolidate the Vokkaliga vote bank, while take chips of Lingayat vote belt, put up a fierce fight for Muslims and Dalit Vote Bank with direct poaching if leaders and outfits like BSP and SDPI, and Namma Congress . These may not be enough for Kumaranna 150, but will get enough votes to make Kumaraswamy King maker once again and save JDS.