JD(S) marks worst its showing since debut | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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JD(S) marks worst its showing since debut

ByPriyanka Rudurappa, Bengaluru
May 15, 2023 01:02 AM IST

The Janata Dal (Secular) on Saturday saw its worst performance in the Karnataka assembly elections since its debut in 1999. The party managed to get 19 seats in the polls compared to 37 in 2018.

On Saturday, the Janata Dal(Secular) saw its worst performance in over two decades, reduced to 19 seats from the 37 they had won in 2018. But even as the party has begins the process of analyzing what went wrong, bringing them to their worst performance since the first election they ever contested after the formation of the party in 1999, experts said that there were several aspects that they would have to consider.

JD(S) saw its worst performance on Saturday in over two decades (ANI)
JD(S) saw its worst performance on Saturday in over two decades (ANI)

In the Old Mysuru region, the Vokkaliga heartland where the JD(S) was banking on its votes, both the Congress and the BJP managed to make inroads at the cost of the regional party. The Congress bagged a big chunk of 41 seats, up from 20 in 2018, while the BJP also improved its tally to 15 from 5 seats in 2018. Meanwhile, the JD(S) was reduced to 14, from 30 seats in the 2018 elections. The elections also saw a shift in the voting patterns among the Muslims in Old Mysurum, a traditional JD(S) votebank. Of the 15 Muslim candidates fielded by the Congress, nine won, while none of the 22 fielded by the JDS were successful.

But even more consequentially, the party that now faces an existential battle ahead, has little to offer its 19 MLAs in a government that has seen a clear Congress majority, with both the BJP and the Congress likely to circle. With 89 year old Deve Gowda announcing that this was his last election, disgruntlement within party persists, experts said. “It is very difficult. While Deve Gowda is a tall leader, he is very old. His influence outside the party politics has also reduced. He has a marginal hold now and can’t be the main unifying factor anymore,” said political analyst Chambi Puranik.

On Saturday, after results were announced, Kumaraswamy said, “We welcome the mandate of the people and it is the final in a democratic set-up. We accept victory and defeat with the same spirit.”

Experts also said that the danger looming for the JD(S) is the growing influence of state Congress president DK Shivakumar, also a Vokkaliga. “Before the elections, Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga leader, openly announced that he was the chief ministerial candidate and that has tilted the Vokkaliga belt’s support in favour of Congress. He also got the support of influential Vokkaliga mutts in the state,” Puranik said. On Sunday, prominent Vokkaliga pontiff Adi Chunchanagiri Nirmalananda Natha Swamiji appealed to the Congress leadership to appoint Shivakumar as the next chief minister of the state.

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