By Milind Dharmasena
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda’s assurance to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of the Janata Dal (Secular) support in the event of a crisis within the BJP was not just a statement made for formality. It had undercurrents of long term plans for electoral agreement.
The JD(S), which has emerged as the king- maker for both the Congress and the BJP, by stepping in to form the governments whenever both parties have fallen short of numbers since mid 2000 has set its eyes on the Assembly elections in 2023 to be followed by the Lok Sabha in 2024. Hence, when Bommai called on Gowda on August 1, it was not a mere meeting of an erstwhile Janata Parivar member and the JD(S) supremo. It was a meeting to cement ties of interdependence.
While the appointment of Bommai as the Chief Minister had a smooth sailing, the latter is aware things will not be hunky dory for him once he forms the cabinet this week. The BJP leadership has already put a rider on him —to keep tainted legislators out of the cabinet.
It’s going to be a tough task for Bommai to meet the requirements of all. He has to take into consideration his predecessor B S Yediyurappa’s suggestion not to drop any of the `migrant’ ministers and at the same time give an opportunity to fresh and young faces. Those who are not going to make it, may try to cause trouble and Gowda’s support will be crucial then.
“By extending unsolicited support to the Bommai led BJP government, Gowda has officially accepted that JD(S) will always remain a small alliance partner which will remain opportunistic and shed its secular values for power,” Congress spokesperson Kavitha Reddy said.
According to political observers the Deve Gowda family is not aiming to get a complete majority on its own in elections. It is content in propping up governments and having a share in the spoils of power sometimes in the name of upholding its secular credentials and more often dropping it.
“Congress leaders have said many BJP MLAs are in touch with him. They have hinted of the government falling anytime. Therefore the JD(S) with its foresight has assured to stand by the BJP,” Tanveer Ahmed , JD(S) Spokesperson said.
During the meeting with Bommai, the former PM was categorical that no party in Karnataka wanted the Assembly elections before time. “The JD(S) will support the Bommai government if there is a crisis,” he said. Earlier too Gowda had said it will not do anything to dislodge the Yediyurappa led government as the JD(S) would utilise the time to build the party in the state.
“Gowda Is a tall leader and a statesman. Irrespective of his support the BJP government is always safe and stable in the state. At the same time we respect his gesture, ” BJP spokesperson S Prakash said.