- Danish Ali was a well-known General Secretary of the Janata Dal Secular
- He may contest the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh on a BSP ticket
- His departure will mean that the JDS does lose an articulate spokesperson
Danish Ali, the well-known General Secretary of the Janata Dal Secular has quit the party and joined Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. It is expected that he will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh on a BSP ticket.
The move did come as somewhat of a surprise - until just a few days ago, Mr Ali was busy negotiating seat sharing between the ruling coalition partners in Karnataka, the Congress and his Janata Dal Secular. He finally met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Kochi on Wednesday, after which it was announced that the JDS would contest eight and the Congress 20 of Karnataka's 28 Lok Sabha seats.
But the JDS in Karnataka said this is a "purely political arrangement" between the two parties. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy tweeted:
Danish Ali, the JDS General Secretary, has joined BSP in consent with me and our national president Sri HD Devegowda in a purely political arrangement between the two parties. It is a thoughtful political decision taken by #JDS and BSP to win more seats in the Loksabha elections.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) March 16, 2019
Mr Ali contesting on a JDS ticket - a party which is seen as largely a regional party - may have been a disadvantage. BSP chief Mayawati has actively campaigned for the Janata Dal Secular ahead of the Assembly election in Karnataka last year, attending rallies and speaking in support of the party of former prime minister, HD Deve Gowda and his son, HD Kumaraswamy.
After joining the BSP in Lucknow today, Mr Ali explained his move and said the JDS didn't have a large organisational structure in Uttar Pradesh, which sends most lawmakers to parliament in the country.
"JDS doesn't have a large organisational structure in UP. Despite all my efforts I could not have raised it in my 'janmabhoomi, my 'karmabhoomi'... The way in which there is a threat to constitution today, it has become essential to use our energy with a strong leadership," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Mr Ali added that him switching over has the "blessings" of Mr Deve Gowda. "I never asked for anything even when I was in JD(S), it was upto HD Deve Gowda ji to decide what work to assign me. I have come here after taking the blessings & permission of Deve Gowda ji. I will work wherever Behen ji assigns me," he told ANI.
Senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra said Mayawati would decide Danish Ali's role in the party.
"We are very happy that Danish Ali left JDS and joined our party today. We welcome him wholeheartedly. His addition will definitely strengthen our party's public base," he told news agency ANI.
Danish Ali's departure will mean that the JDS does lose an articulate spokesperson who was seen as accessible to those outside Karnataka too. His fluent Hindi was no small factor when it came to representing his former party on the national stage.