A party with no ideological values

A party with no ideological values

JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy. Credit: DH Photo

The Janata Dal(S), which could have emerged as a strong regional outfit in Karnataka on the lines of its counterparts in neighbouring states, has today been reduced to a party with little or no credibility, bereft of any ideological mooring or values. Known for running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, the party’s political bankruptcy could not have been more pronounced than at the recently concluded legislature session. During the previous session in September, JD(S) had joined hands with Congress in the Legislative Council to block introduction of the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill which allows non-agriculturists to buy farmland. However, in the current session, it took a diametrically opposite stand and voted with the government to pass the Bill. While what promoted this sudden change of heart is debatable, protesting farmers have accused JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy of having struck a deal with the ruling BJP.

In the case of the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill too, JD(S) had made it known that it would demand referring the legislation to a joint legislature committee, thereby saving the government from facing the humiliation of a defeat. The Congress and JD(S) together have more numbers than the BJP in the Upper House. Again, when the BJP sought to move a no-confidence motion against Council Chairman Pratap Chandra Shetty, the regional outfit extended its support, forgetting its self-proclaimed secular credentials. Though the Bill and the motion could not be taken up, soon after this, the JD(S) demanded the Chairman’s post for itself, in return for the favours. The change in JD(S) stand towards BJP may have taken shape at the meeting Kumaraswamy had with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa some two months ago, details of which were never made public.

Politics, no doubt, makes strange bed fellows, but JD(S) in its hunger for power and pelf has taken political immorality to the next level by cohabiting with multiple partners having contrasting ideologies, at the same time.  Though the people sent a strong message by defeating party patriarch H D Deve Gowda and his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party does not seem to have learnt its lesson. It can still aspire to become a strong regional player in Karnataka only if it gives up its well-entrenched politics of quid-pro-quo and puts the interests of the people on top. The party’s ideology should be set on a strong foundation. Rank opportunism and unethical compromises which have turned out to be the hallmarks of JD(S) over the years, will not take it far unless it reforms itself and turns over a new leaf.