'No demand for me... a small party': JDS' Kumaraswamy plays down alliance buzz
This comes a day after Kumaraswamy had declared that JD(S) was open to a post-poll alliance with either the Congress or the ruling BJP.
Hours before the counting for the Karnataka Assembly Elections begins, ex-Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy said on Saturday that JD(S) was a small party and he was only looking for development.
Speaking to media, Kumaraswamy said, “In the next 2-3 hours, it will become clear. Exit polls show that the two national parties will score in a big way. The exit polls have given 30-32 seats to JD(S). I am a small party, there is no demand for me...I am hoping for a good development.”
This comes a day after two-time former MLA Kumaraswamy had declared that JD(S) was open to a post-poll alliance with either the Congress or the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whichever agreed to his list of conditions, principal among which was that he return as chief minister with a free hand.
The JDS leader's remarks were rebutted by the two national parties, each of which said no contact had been made with the regional party for an alliance. Each also stressed that they expect to win this election with a clear majority - something multiple exit polls doubt.
Speculation over the JDS' course of action was also triggered by party leader Tanveer Ahmed, who told the broadcaster a decision on whom to support had been made. Hours later his comment was struck down by party senior CM Ibrahim, who declared Ahmed a 'nobody'.
Exit polls have indicated that Karnataka might face a hung Assembly as the most likely outcome. While some of them gave the Congress an edge, it was not enough to stake an independent claim to the next government. ABP News-CVoter, Republic-P-Marq, Zee News-Matrize and TV9-Bharatvarsh-Polstrat believe the Congress will emerge as the single-largest party but with fewer than the 113 seats needed to claim an outright win.
Kumaraswamy's father and ex-prime minister HD Deve Gowda had earlier suggested that the party would not engage with the Congress, with whom the JD(S) had allied in 2018 to form an alliance against the BJP which fell in a year as the rebel MLAs walked out.
If the Congress and the BJP are, in fact, closely matched, the JDS will likely emerge as a 'kingmaker', as they have done once each for the two larger parties in the past two elections.
The Congress' DK Shivakumar and the BJP's Basavaraj Bommai, who expects to return as chief minister, have both stressed their parties see themselves winning under their own steam.