Symbolic Turmoil: Janata Dal (Secular) Grapples with Factional Crisis as CM Ibrahim Challenges Party Leadership

Headline: Janata Dal (Secular) Faces Symbol Crisis as Faction Led by CM Ibrahim Challenges Party Leadership

In a recent development, the Janata Dal (Secular) party, led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, is grappling with a symbol crisis as a splinter faction, headed by its now-suspended state president CM Ibrahim, seeks recognition from the Election Commission as the “real JD(S).” The faction is also laying claim to the party’s election symbol, depicting “a woman farmer carrying paddy.”

CM Ibrahim, who was ousted from the party for opposing the BJP-JD(S) alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, declared in an exclusive interview with News18, “We are the real JD(S). In a core committee meeting held by like-minded JD(S) leaders, we have removed Deve Gowda as the national president.”

Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy responded to Ibrahim’s revolt, stating, “If Ibrahim thinks his party is original, then let him put up a board that he is the original one. He can do whatever he wants. It is left completely to him how he wants to proceed.”

CM Ibrahim accused the Gowda family of attempting to coerce him into aligning with the BJP, a move he vehemently rejected. He stated, “I am very happy that I understood their (Gowdas’) real colour. They wanted to take me along with them to the BJP; when I refused, they got angry.”

In the midst of this power struggle, the splinter JD(S) faction is approaching the Election Commission to be recognized as the legitimate party, led by its new president CK Nanu. Ibrahim confirmed that they plan to contest the Lok Sabha polls and will seek the authority to use the JD(S) symbol.

Ibrahim revealed

, “We are in talks with Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) to fight the parliamentary elections. As of now, we have five MLAs from the Karnataka JD(S) supporting us and expect 12 more to join us soon…We will definitely seek that (symbol), or else we will request another party symbol to contest the elections.”*

This situation mirrors recent factional disputes in other states, such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, where prominent regional parties like Shiv Sena, NCP, and AIADMK have witnessed internal divisions leading to battles over party symbols. The Eknath Shinde-led faction claimed to be the “original Shiv Sena” and successfully secured the party’s “bow and arrow” symbol, while a similar power tussle for the election symbol of the AIADMK unfolded in 2017.

The Election Commission, in these cases, played a crucial role in determining the legitimacy of factions and allocating party names and symbols. The outcome of the JD(S) symbol crisis remains uncertain, and the Election Commission is expected to weigh in on this matter as the power struggle within the party continues.