Growing opposition unity in India poses challenge to Modi and the BJP

Members gather in front of a Gandhi Statue during a joint Congress party and secular Janata Dal (JD) protest against Karnataka governor Valubhai Vala and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Bangalore, India on May 17, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

NEW DELHI - The swearing in of a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader as the chief minister and head of a coalition government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka indicates growing opposition unity that could transform India's next parliamentary elections into a tough contest rather than a one-sided affair in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party.

Mr H D Kumaraswamy, the leader of Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), a regional party from Karnataka, assumed office as its chief minister on Wednesday in Bengaluru, in the presence of several senior leaders from a range of opposition parties. He was sworn in after securing support from the Congress party, which backed Mr Kumaraswamy for the top role despite having secured more seats that the JD(S) in the state assembly. The Congress' intent is clear - keep the BJP out of power at any cost, even if it requires playing a "junior role" in a coalition.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.