JDS still wary of more defections, suspects arm-twisting tactics by BJP
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JDS still wary of more defections, suspects arm-twisting tactics by BJP

By Newindianexpress calender  11-Aug-2019

JDS still wary of more defections, suspects arm-twisting tactics by BJP

MLAs of Congress-JDS coalition went rogue, H D Kumaraswamy lost the confidence of the House, the coalition collapsed, BJP staked claim to form the government and BS Yediyurappa even took oath as the Chief Minister and proved majority in the House. Yet, there is a sense of insecurity in the JDS camp. The party that currently has 34 MLAs is wary of more defection and suspects that at least a dozen MLAs are on the flight-risk radar.
Even after getting three of its former MLAs disqualified almost as a message to others in the party, JDS is still worried about more defections. JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda had even expelled H Vishwanath, Gopalaiah and Narayanagowda for anti-party activities, accusing them of hobnobbing with the BJP but it doesn’t look like the party is breathing easy yet. “At least 12 MLAs are still in touch with the BJP and that is a matter of concern,” said a senior party office-bearer adding that the possibility of arm-twisting tactics is not being ruled out. 
The mutual dislike that BS Yeddiyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy share owing to their previous coalition stint isn’t helping JDS. It is almost like the party is convinced that Yediyurappa, who insisted that he will not indulge in politics of hate after taking oath as chief minister, will ensure that the JDS legislative party led by Kumaraswamy will be further reduced in numbers. 
The BJP is sitting precariously on the edge as far as the number game goes in the assembly with just 105 MLAs. “The plan seems to be to either break the JDS completely or threaten it into extending outside support to the government. If push comes to shove, the party leadership may even agree to back the BJP government,” a senior functionary of the JDS said. While Deve Gowda is pushing his cadres to work extra hard in Hunsur, Mahalakshmi Layout and KR Pete — the three constituencies where JDS MLAs were disqualified — the focus is also on keeping the flock together. 
The migration of local leaders citing coalition with Congress as reason, especially in the Old Mysuru region, has hit JDS’ grassroots level structure. While the party is keen on winning back the three seats in the bypolls, the fear of losing more legislators is looming large. 
Senior party leaders including Deve Gowda have even told workers that defeatist statements being made by former ministers like G T Devegowda is further weakening the party’s morale. Apart from winning seats in the bypoll, the JDS’ focus also remains on getting Deve Gowda elected to the Rajya Sabha but it would require the help of either the Congress or the BJP’s spare votes. 

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