Bengaluru, May 15: The position of Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) in the Karnataka Assembly election 2018 has been a precarious one. Dubbed as the third force in the highly-contested elections, the JD(S) has faced the wrath of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
Before the polls, both the Congress and the BJP alleged that the JD(S) is the "B-team" of their respective opponents. However, the regional party denied any such understanding and expressed confidence of winning the elections on its own. The JD(S) has formed an alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) before the elections.
While political experts have called JD(S) the "kingmaker" (as the party is likely to support either the BJP or the Congress in case of a hung assembly), its leadership maintains that the regional party is the "king".
As counting of votes is underway in Karnataka on Tuesday, trends are clearly in favour of the BJP. While filing this report, the BJP has already won 13 seats and is leading in another 98 seats. The Congress has won five seats and is leading in 65 seats. The JD(S) has won one seat and is leading in 38 seats.
On Saturday, voting for 222 constituencies out of 224 took place in Karnataka. A party or an alliance needs at least 113 seats to form the government in the state.
A political analyst told OneIndia that the JD(S) is likely to give support to the BJP even if the saffron party gets majority on its own. "It is unlikely that the BJP will get 113 seats. So it needs the support of the JD(S). In the current situation when the Congress has been reduced to 60-65 seats, the JD(S) has no other option but to align with the BJP," he added.
However, if the JD(S) joins hands with the BJP it has to do a lot of explanation to its election partner, the BSP. The alliance between the JD(S) and the BSP was forged keeping an eye on the big 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"Perhaps that is why the JD(S) is taking its own sweet time before revealing its cards. My hunch says it will be the BJP-JD(S) combine to rule Karnataka this time," stated the political analyst who regularly writes for Kannada newspapers.
According to a report by The Indian Express, there seems to be a lull at the JD(S) headquarters in Bengaluru.
"As JD(S) hopes to become kingmaker, it's party office in Bengaluru is largely silent. Security official tells me leaders are inside possibly watching results and waiting for Kumaraswamy who will come very shortly. Cops stationed here are glued to their mobiles watching TV," tweeted the English daily's reporter Vishnu Verma.
As JD(S) hopes to become kingmaker, it's party office in Bengaluru is largely silent. Security official tells me leaders are inside possibly watching results and waiting for Kumaraswamy who will come very shortly. Cops stationed here are glued to their mobiles watching TV. pic.twitter.com/rEzKhfcU14— Vishnu Varma (@VishKVarma) May 15, 2018
We have to wait till Tuesday evening to get a clear picture of whether the BJP will actually need the support of the JD(S) or not. If not, the JD(S) will have to remain in the third spot in Karnataka politics.