After the collapse of the coalition government, Janata Dal (Secular)’s political troubles seem to be only escalating, with multiple rifts being reported every month. Republic has learned of the revival plans that the party leaders have discussed with political strategist Prashant Kishor in the first round of talks held.
Speaking to the Gowdas, the first family of JDS, Kishor who has recently also tied up with DMK, has proposed several measures to revamp the party. With the mandate to bring the party back to power in the next assembly elections, several macro and micro maneuvers were discussed in a telephone call that took place last week.
A constant stricture the JD(S) top brass faces often is that of being a family-centric party. A makeover of the party image as a family-run and family-only party while not loosening the grip on the machinery was proposed.
Image makeover for their chief ministerial candidate, HD Kumaraswamy, is also on cards along with the projection of two young faces, two grandsons of Devegowda, Nikhil Kumarswamy and Prajwal Revanna.
JD(S)’s footprint has been restricted to the Old Mysore region, especially three districts, Mandya, Hassan, and Tumakuru. In addition, the party mostly has focussed on catering to the Vokkaligas as their primary vote bank. The discussion held with Kishor deliberated on increasing the footprint of the party across Karnataka, taking it beyond their stronghold.
With the resolve of projecting JD(S) as a party which is not just a kingmaker, but capable of forming a government on its own, a bid to highlight the milestone successes of the party when in governance was made.
In the years remaining of the BJP government’s tenure in the state, projecting JD(S) as a stronger opposition party than Congress was discussed. Increasing access and contact with voters and JDS leaders and revamping the dismal presence of the party on social media were part of the agenda. While continuing to display JDS as a secular party, softening the image of anti-Hindu was part of the dialogue.
JD(S) political fortunes swindled further as their numbers in the Karnataka assembly was reduced from 37 to 34 after the resignation of three of their legislators. And since the loss of power, many senior leaders have spoken out publicly against the party especially against the former CM HD Kumaraswamy.
Prashant Kishor recently had a spat with JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar and was expelled from the party where he held the position of vice president. Kishor and his organisation I-PAC, in the recent past, have successfully managed the campaigns for YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and AAP in Delhi even as he has signed up to handle TMC and DMK in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively.