Ahead of polls, HDK in Delhi to discuss JD(S) alliance with BJP
Kumaraswamy clarified that there had been no preliminary discussions concerning the allocation of Lok Sabha seats between the two parties
Former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy held a meeting with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command on Thursday night to discuss an alliance between the two parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, but the outcome of the meeting will be disclosed on Friday, party leaders aware of the matter said.
Kumaraswamy left for New Delhi on Thursday to hold discussions with Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda. Before leaving Bengaluru, he told the media: “This (Thursday) there is a meeting, once we have the outcome of the meeting, tomorrow (Friday) I will share everything openly with your Delhi correspondents.”
There is the possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda also joining the dialogue, according to JD(S) party leaders. Deve Gowda , who represents the party in Rajya Sabha, is already in Delhi.
Kumaraswamy clarified that there had been no preliminary discussions concerning the allocation of Lok Sabha seats between the two parties. “Neither have we thought about it (seats) so far, nor have they (BJP) proposed anything in this regard. We will discuss in detail the current situation in all 28 (Lok Sabha) seats, what was the situation in the earlier election and what is the situation after the 2023 assembly polls.”
When asked about the finalisation of the alliance, Kumaraswamy adopted a cautious tone, saying, “Let’s see.”
“Discussion is with their (BJP) decision-makers like Amit Shah and their President JP Nadda. If required Narendra Modi and Deve Gowda will talk,” he added.
The talks concerning a potential alliance between the JD(S) and the BJP gained prominence after BS Yediyurappa, BJP veteran and parliamentary board member, declared earlier this month that his party intended to collaborate with the JD(S) for the Lok Sabha elections. Under this prospective understanding, the JD(S) would contest four Lok Sabha seats out of Karnataka’s total of 28 constituencies.
However, Yediyurappa subsequently clarified that discussions on this matter had not yet reached a final resolution. He explained that Modi and Shah, who were preoccupied with other responsibilities, might address and decide on the issue in the coming days.
On Thursday when asked about the alliance, Yediyurappa said that the decision will be made by the high command. “At present, I don’t have any information. Once the discussions are held, we will be informed, then I will address you,” he said in Bengaluru.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP secured a sweeping victory in Karnataka, claiming 25 out of the 28 seats, with an independent candidate supported by the BJP securing one seat. The Congress and JD(S) each managed to secure one seat.
Following the results of the 224-member Assembly elections held in May of the same year, the Congress emerged as the dominant party with 135 seats, the BJP secured 66, and the JD(S) obtained 19 seats. Subsequently, speculation arose that JD(S) would form an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls, although Deve Gowda later hinted that the party might consider contesting the elections independently.
Following the Assembly poll debacle, BJP, wary of its performance in the Lok Sabha elections, seems to be open for an alliance with JD(S), aimed at regaining a maximum number of seats, leaders from both parties said, adding, it hopes JD(S) votes may get transferred to it, especially in the old Mysuru region where the regional party has a significant presence. For JD(S), it is a matter of survival, and the party hopes to better its prospects by forging an alliance with BJP in the backdrop of the Congress’ reported attempts to weaken it by wooing its leaders, they added.
JD(S) had earlier formed governments in coalition with both BJP and Congress for 20 months from January 2006, and for 14 months from May 2018, respectively, with Kumaraswamy as the chief minister.
(With PTI inputs)