BJP, JD(S) dismiss reports about merger

BJP, JD(S) dismiss reports about merger

Both Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy termed media reports in this regard as 'imaginary'

Pictured: HD Kumaraswamy. Credit: DH File Photo/Ravindra Gangal

The BJP and JD(S) in Karnataka on Sunday dismissed reports of their merger after a saffron party leader opined that political polarisation was likely in the state, giving rise to speculations about the parties coming together.

Both Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy termed media reports in this regard as 'imaginary'.

"I have a feeling that the political polarisation will intensify in the coming days in the country... The Modi wave and the BJP wave is clearly visible.. I have a gut feeling that the same polarisation will take place in Karnataka as well," State Vice President Aravind Limbavali told reporters while briefing them about BJP's preparations for the coming local body polls in the state.

Asked if there was any chance of a merger between the two parties, Limbavalli said he had heard of reports about it and would try to find out. His remarks led to a certain section of media speculating that the merger may take place in February after 'Makar Sankranti' and there would be a change of guard at the top by Ugadi in April, with Kumaraswamy leading it.

The Chief Minister, in a statement, dismissed the reports, describing them as 'pure lies'. "The confusing news that JD(S) MLAs will join BJP or the JD(S) merging with BJP is pure lies. There is nothing like that. Yediyurappa said JD(S) had extended support only on the issue of removing the legislative council chairman from his post. The JD(S), he pointed out, had not supported the BJP on bringing the anti-cow slaughter bill due to which the government had to take the ordinance route. Kumaraswamy too junked the reports in a series of tweets.

"I want to clarify that for Janata Dal Secular, the situation of committing suicide by merging with another party has not yet come. I don't foresee such a situation gripping us in the future too," Kumaraswamy tweeted. Stating that JD(S) is a party of Kannadigas with self-esteem which would never think of such a move, the former Chief Minister said his party "will never display such stupidity."

"At the most, we may extend issue-based support to BJP if needed in the coming days in the public interest. No importance needs to be attached to any imaginary reports in this regard," Kumaraswamy said. BJP and JD(S) had earlier formed a coalition government in 2006 with Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister and Yediyurappa as his deputy, under a power-sharing formula of 20 months each. However, it collapsed as JD(S) did not transfer power to BJP, which later went on to win the next assembly elections and form its first-ever government in the south.

Another such exercise between the parties in 2018 came unstuck after some JD(S) MLAs, along with Congress legislators resigned from the assembly and later joined the BJP, leading to the fall of the one-year-old coalition government in 2019.

Kumaraswamy had recently stated that the reputation he had earned as chief minister of the coalition government in 2006-07 was ruined after he headed another one in 2018-19. BJP recently managed to get the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill-2020 passed in the legislative council with the help of JD(S), which had earlier opposed it, alleging that it was "anti-farmer".