Former minister and former chairman of the Coastal Area Development Corporation, B Nagaraja Shetty might be a small fry in state politics, and his move from BJP to JD(S) might not make headlines, but for BJP it was blow on two counts -firstly Shetty was a staunch RSS man, trained in RSS and carried the ideology of Sangh Parivar throughout his 20 years of political career, his joining JD(S) has shaken the very base of ideology. Second he presides over a large portion of motivated BJP followers from Bunt community- who may switch loyalties to JD(S).
Even as the JD(S) bandwagon arrived at the door steps of the BJP bastion on Monday, taking both BJP and Congressmen into its fold, nervous reactions were being aired in the BJP camp, the second line leaders of the party agreed that Shetty’s joining JD(S) was an event which could snowball into a dismal poll prospect for the BJP if the party goes in for elections in the next one year or so. The political pundits in the coastal region say that Shetty had a good following and he will take most of them into JD(S) fold.
The snowballing effect that Shetty’s entry into JD(S) speaks of one more development, it might influence the minority and backward community voters and workers of both BJP and Congress to join JD(S). The Muslim and other minorities in BJP and Congress were wary about the secular characteristics of those parties. Shetty’s entry has been seen as a sign of approval for them to switch loyalties.
“The JDS is open to all those who come with a secular mindset. In Nagaraja Shetty I have seen a total transformation from a Sangh Parivar activist to a secular activist, anybody who undergoes a change of heart can come to JD(S),” HD Kumaraswamy said.
“Shetty did not join JD(S) for anything else, he was well endowed in life, but he often confided in me that the right wing activism of which he was a part was pricking him deep and for the last three years he nursed staunch liking for secularism, which was a true transformation,” JD(S) leader Zameer Ahmed Khan said.
Most important was that Shetty had left the party in power and has joined the party which did not have power and did not enjoy a great following in the coastal areas. As a cabinet rank official in the government Shetty could have enjoyed the power for some more time.
JD(S) leaders have played a fast one on the BJP by hooking Shetty, the minorities in BJP will now think of shifting to JD(S) at least in the coast area where Muslim community commands the second largest chunk of voters after a total of backward communities, SC and ST and upper class Hindus.