This Article is From Sep 08, 2023

As Opposition Teams Up For Big 2024 Fight, BJP Plans A Pact In South

According to BJP leader and ex-Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the JDS will contest four of the state's 28 parliamentary seats despite having won less than 10 per cent of the votes in the last general election.

New Delhi:

Hours after ex-Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) have an "understanding" for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, sources from the former party said "this is not final... (and it) will be discussed further" and that its Rajya Sabha MP from the state, Lehar Singh, had been authorised to negotiate any possible deal.

Earlier today Mr Yediyurappa said the JDS would contest four seats and that the deal "will help us win 25 or 26 seats". Reports said the JDS wanted the Mandya, Hassan, Bengaluru (Rural) and Chikballapur seats, of which it won only Hassan in the last general election.

JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda contested from Tumkur and lost.

Overall, the BJP swept the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, winning 25 seats on its own and counting a 26th after helping an independent candidate to victory. The Congress won a solitary seat.

The JDS won less than 10 per cent of the total vote share, underlining the significance of this alliance, particularly after it was also trounced in state polls; it secured less than 14 per cent of the votes polled.

The tie-up is also key for the BJP as it looks to counter momentum being generated by INDIA, the mega opposition bloc that includes the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Shiv Sena UBT and several more.

Sources, though, have also said some BJP leaders are against the deal, pointing to the JDS' poor showing in the last election and their parties' strong results in the last Lok Sabha poll.

The BJP was in power in the southern state till the May election, in which the Congress recorded a surprisingly dominant win, claiming 135 seats in the 224-member house.

This was after HD Kumaraswamy talked up the JDS as a "king maker" in post-poll scenarios. However, the Congress' win meant it no clout for a second successive major election.

Early Talk Of BJP-JDS Tie-Up

In June, sources told NDTV of the possibility of a BJP-JDS alliance.

Days later JDS boss HD Deve Gowda publicly backed Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after the train tragedy in Odisha's Balasore; Mr Deve Gowda praised Mr Vaishnaw for "working tirelessly (and had taken) all necessary steps to restore damage that happened".

READ | Railway Minister "Working Tirelessly" After Train Accident: Ex-PM HD Deve Gowda

Mr Deve Gowda had also spurned opposition leaders' calls to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building in May. "It is the property of the country.... not anyone's personal matter," he said.

BJP's "Mission South"

After losing Karnataka this year, the BJP is now without a government in South India.

The party was booted out of Tamil Nadu in 2021 after allies All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam were beaten by the DMK, and it was routed in Kerala. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have also proven resistant to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party in the past.

Of these states, Telangana votes for a new government later this year and the BJP is eager to have local footprints in each state as it builds back up ahead of next year's mega election.

With that in mind, the AIADMK alliance has been renewed and talks are also on with smaller Kerala parties. The BJP is already in a coalition government in Puducherry.

With input from agencies