So the JD(S) is a curiosity

Ever heard of a state party with a national president There is one in Karnataka
news Politics Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 12:22

Ever heard of a state party with a national president? There is one in Karnataka

A senior politician and socialist leader AK Subbaiah has pointed out a rather curious nomenclature in the Janata Dal (Secular): he said a state-level party had a national president.

Addressing a meeting in Madikeri organized by the Jatyateetia Okkoota on Sunday, Subbaiah made a statement that is rather difficult to deduce.

“JD(S) is the only regional party with a national president,” Subbaiah said.

Subbaiah has had a long-standing disagreement with HD Deve Gowda, his one-time comrade in the socialist movement. This also, hardly the first time that the former MLC has criticised Deve Gowda in this vein.

The irony in the JD(S)’ situation that Subbaiah has pointed out, dates back to the origins of the party.

The Election Commission of India has classified the JD(S) as a state party. The JD(S) has a presence in Karnataka and Kerala, but does not satisfy the criteria to be classified as a national party.

And yet, the JD(S) has a national president – HD Deve Gowda.

The JD(S) split from the Janata Dal in 1999, when the bloc headed by then Karnataka CM JH Patel favoured the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance leading to the formation of Janata Dal (Secular) under HD Deve Gowda.

The Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal, the Lok Shakti and the Samata Party merged as the Janata Dal (United), which has a presence in north India while the JD(S) under Deve Gowda eventually became confined to Karnataka.

Subbaiah also said at the event, “If the Janata Dal (Secular) is to develop as a third force, it must be freed from the cluthes of the Deve Gowda family.”

For some time now, the JD(S) has been called little more than a father-and-sons-party. Once respected for its socialist stand, the party has now been reduced to little more than a bunch of opportunists as some of its tallest leaders have joined other parties. One of the most prominent such defectors has been the current chief minister Siddaramaiah, who was a protégé of Deve Gowda. But in July 2006, he left the party with which he had been associated for two decades reportedly disillusioned at being cast aside by Gowda who favoured his son Kumaraswamy as his successor.

Subbaiah’s remarks about a third force are also relevant as the extended Janata Parivar, as several of the socialist parties are collectively called, has been making noise about reuniting. However, little has come of it even though meetings have been held from time to time.

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