JD(S) may lose principal Opposition tag

The party had got the position on the basis of percentage of votes

The proposed merger of Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) with the BJP is likely to dislodge JD(S) as the principal Opposition party in the Assembly.

Both the JD(S) and the BJP had secured 40 seats each in the Assembly elections held early 2013. But the JD(S) got the principal Opposition status as it was ahead of the BJP, in terms of the percentage of votes secured.

The merger can happen only if two-thirds of the total KJP legislators join the BJP, thus not attracting the provisions of the anti-defection law. In other words, at least four of the six KJP MLAs should join the BJP. In that case, the BJP tally in the Assembly will surpass that of JD(S).

Resistance

KJP legislator B R Patil has been resisting the merger, while another MLA Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli has not expressed his mind so far. Another legislator Guru Patil is said to be in two minds on joining the BJP.

U B Banakar and Vishwanath Patil are said to have agreed to join BJP, with Yeddyurappa. Banakar is confident that all the MLAs will express their solidarity with Yeddyurappa.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy is learnt to be holidaying in Malaysia with his friends. He celebrated the New Year there and is likely to return to Bangalore on Thursday evening. There is a possibility of Kumaraswamy losing the post of the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

‘To consult experts’

JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda was not reachable on phone. The party State president A Krishnappa said that the JD(S) will react to the implications of the merger after consulting constitutional experts.

“We will now clarify the situation with experts on the position of the principal Opposition party. The JD(S) became the principal opposition on the basis of higher percentage of votes. Will this now be considered? There are several such questions which will have to be answered,” he said.

On being questioned whether they were ready to accept being relegated to third place, Krishnappa said that it was a known fact that the two parties (BJP and KJP) are in talks and that it will have no bearing on JD(S).

JD(S) leader Madhu Bangarappa said that position never mattered for the party. “It does not mean anything to us. With this merger, the true colours of the two parties have been exposed,” he said.

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