Karnataka election: Ahead of results, BJP, Cong and JD-S hold ‘strategic’ meetings

Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar, and BS Yediyurappa actively engaged in discussions; HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy strategizing for a potential hung assembly

While Siddaramaiah has reportedly insisted on having DKS as his deputy, the latter is reportedly not keen on it | File photo: PTI

Even as the three major political parties — BJP, Congress and JD(S) —eagerly await the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election results, which are set to be declared on Saturday, the prominent leaders from each party are holding strategic meetings at various places.

Although exit polls indicate a potential victory for the Congress party, both Congress and BJP leaders are expressing confidence in their respective chances and claiming a majority of seats. Several BJP leaders believe that the party ‘will form the government, even if Congress gets more seats’. Meanwhile, JD(S) leaders are anticipating a hung assembly and positioning themselves to potentially become king or king-maker.

Siddaramaiah: The potential CM

Despite the ill health of former CM Siddaramaiah, there is still a flurry of political activity taking place at his residence. His supporters are gathering there and devising strategic plans for what may come after the election results are announced.

Also read: Karnataka polls: BJP will have clear majority, form govt, says Bommai on counting eve

Siddaramaiah’s supporters are hoping for him to become CM again if the party secures a majority. On Friday morning, a visibly cheerful Siddaramaiah held meetings with party leaders. He also spoke to AICC General Secretary Randeep Surjewala, as well as Rahul Gandhi and AICC chief Mallikarjuna Kharge, regarding future plans. On Wednesday, Siddaramaiah expressed confidence in his chances of becoming CM again.

DK Shivakumar:  A strong contender

On Friday, DK Shivakumar, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief and a contender for the CM position, expressed his confidence in leading the party by stating, “I have led the party during challenging times, and I am confident that everyone will support me. Both senior and junior party members will cooperate with me.” He remained occupied with multiple meetings throughout the day.

He said, “I have been working tirelessly without proper sleep since the day I assumed office. I have dedicated myself to the party and worked hard. With everyone’s cooperation and blessings, there is no doubt that we will form a good Congress government.”

Also read: Karnataka polls: Clear wave, Congress will win 141 seats: DK Shivakumar

Shivakumar also has the responsibility of preventing any non-Congress candidates from defecting to the BJP as part of their ‘Operation Lotus’ strategy, after the results are announced. He is also visiting various temples to seek divine blessings. On Friday, he visited Sri Arunachaleshwara Temple at Tiruvannamalai and sought blessings, along with his wife Usha DK Shivakumar.

BS Yediyurappa: A circle of influence

Several prominent BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Ministers Byrathi Basavaraj, and Murgesh Nirani, met with former CM BS Yediyurappa to discuss the current political scenario. This demonstrates Yediyurappa’s continued importance in the party, despite being previously ‘sidelined’.

 Even though the BJP national leaders had asked him to resign from the CM post in 2019, they now recognize Yediyurappa’s importance in the current elections due to his strong political influence in the state. While the BJP national leaders were involved in the election campaign, Yediyurappa acted as a face-saver for the party during crucial situations, such as the resignation of former CM Jagadish Shettar and former DCM Lakshmana Savadi, and other such issues.

Also read: JD(S) open for tie-up with both Congress and BJP, says HD Kumaraswamy

Interestingly, CM Basavaraj Bommai, who was also the chairman of the election campaign committee, does not seem to have many supporters around him. In fact, he had to visit BS Yediyurappa and hold discussions with him.

HD Deve Gowda and HDK

JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and his son, former CM HD Kumaraswamy, are actively strategizing for the future course of action. In case of a hung assembly, the importance of JD(S) will increase, and both national parties may demand to form a coalition government with the party.

It is believed that a number of leaders and representatives from both the BJP and Congress are holding discussions with the top leader of JD(S) at Deve Gowda’s residence in Padmanabhanagar. The house is bustling with meetings of party members and family, including HD Revanna, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, and others.

Meanwhile, former CM HD Kumaraswamy said that he had gone to Singapore for a health check-up, but sources suggest that he also had confidential meetings with certain BJP leaders to stay informed about his MLAs.