Karnataka may witness a political Tsunami after Dec 3

Date:

Many leaders in JD(S) and fence-sitters in BJP are planning to join Cong if the results Favour the grand old party.

 (Shankar)

 The December 3 election results to the five Assembly elections is expected to trigger a political tremor in three major parties in Karnataka. Top leaders are waiting to switch sides depending on which way the Assembly results would swing.

Although no prominent leaders have switched sides yet, seniors in Congress and BJP claim many top leaders are queuing up to join their respective parties.

The Congress is likely to gain majorly with low-rung functionaries in the BJP ready to join the grand old party especially after the alliance between BJP and JD(S).

Sources say about five of the 19 JD(S) MLAs and some MLAs and former ministers from BJP were on the doorsteps of the Congress to join the party ahead of the general elections. But many have pressed the pause button and wait for the results of elections in five states.

Brijesh Kalappa, a senior AAP functionary, claimed Congress tried to woo him back, but he refused. Kalappa was once a Congress spokesperson.

While admitting that many want to quit, BJP functionaries said the equation changed with the elevation of BY Vijayendra as state BJP president and R Ashoka as opposition leader in the Assembly. Their elevation was aimed precisely at ending poaching of leaders like ST Somashekar, a BS Yediyurappa loyalist.

“BJP is on a reorganization drive, so a section of disgruntled leaders might eventually jump ship. But nothing major will happen, at least for now,” a BJP office-bearer was quoted in the media.

Several disgruntled Lingayat and Vokkaliga functionaries in BJP and JD(S), who were planning to defect to Congress, have also changed their minds, thanks to its recent flip-flops over the controversial caste census report. The two major communities have opposed the caste census report.

But experts say the number of defections could increase early next year. A lot will depend on BJP’s performance in assembly elections in five states, which could potentially hijack political activity in the state. Fence-sitters are watching Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s moves. These functionaries believe that if BJP wins four states, the party’s position will be solidified in the country for the Lok Sabha elections, and, therefore, they would like to wait and see what the party from here on does in these states.

However, switching sides is no easy task since Congress or BJP must create space for prominent leaders. They will only switch if a lucrative offer is on the table. Disgruntled leaders are reportedly waiting for the best bargain and will weigh their options carefully. Congress is in a bit of a spot as fighting to accommodate their own partymen has started.  They may still join, though, but only at a later stage. Till then, such speculation will continue.

(Author is a senior Editor and political analyst based at Bengaluru)

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