BDJS caught between the devil and the deep sea

LDF and UDF courting it ahead of the crucial byelections

The Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) leadership seems to be caught on the horns of a dilemma. While being cold-shouldered by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State leadership in the National Democratic Alliance, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) as well as the United Democratic Front (UDF) have started courting it ahead of the crucial byelections to five Assembly segments. And now it is a tough choice.

Despite expressing his resolve to be part of the NDA, BDJS president and NDA State convener Thushar Vellappally did not conceal the simmering resentment of the leadership as well as the rank and file, which he said, were equally frustrated and disillusioned at the BJP State leadership’s ineptness in taking forward the NDA as a cohesive whole and also the vote-trading charges that recurred after every election.

The accusations of vote-trading that erupted against the BJP after the Pala Assembly byelection and the alleged attempt by a section of its leaders to place the onus for its reversal on the BDJS have ruptured the strained relations further and the latter has decided not to contest the Aroor Assembly seat. “It is quite difficult for us to bear such ignominy and contest another election before we could clear the air and convince our cadre,” Mr. Thushar told The Hindu.

Lack of consultations among front allies and the BJP leadership’s failure in evolving a consensus on all pertinent issues, including candidate selection, are understood to have deepened the dissensions within the alliance. This is being cited by Mr. Thushar as one of the prime reasons for opting out of the fray in the byelection. He is also vexed over the way the campaign was managed in Pala and how the tables were turned against the BDJS when the BJP candidate suffered a severe setback.

In addition to the complaints of neglect is the failure in honouring the commitments the BJP leadership had given to the BDJS from time to time. While claiming to be active in the campaigning for the BJP in the byelections, the rival fronts’ bid to coax the BDJS to enter their fold may prompt Mr. Thushar and his colleagues to have a rethink on their strategy. The BDJS leadership may not drift before the byelections, but the clout it wields in segments such as Aroor and Konni would be quite crucial for both fronts.

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