Karnataka election: 'Kingmaker' JDS ready to deal with BJP, Cong but... | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Karnataka election: Exit polls predict hung assembly. 'Kingmaker' JDS ready to deal with BJP, Congress but...

Written by Pathi Venkata Thadhagath
May 13, 2023 08:50 AM IST

Karnataka election results: K'taka Congress chief DK Shivakumar declared there would be no alliance with the JDS, a statement since echoed by the BJP.

Ex-Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy on Friday declared his party open to a post-poll alliance with either the Congress or the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, offering each potential lifelines ahead of Saturday's counting of votes. Exit polls have indicated a hung Assembly as the most likely outcome; some gave the Congress an edge but not enough to stake an independent claim to the next government.

HD Kumaraswamy said Congress and BJP were in no position to dismantle the stronghold of the JD(S). (HT File)
HD Kumaraswamy said Congress and BJP were in no position to dismantle the stronghold of the JD(S). (HT File)

Follow all live updates on Karnataka assembly elections here

Kumaraswamy's apparent readiness to deal with his rivals comes days after his father, ex-prime minister HD Deve Gowda, suggested the JDS will not engage with the Congress, with whom it allied after the 2018 election to outmanoeuvre the BJP - the single-largest party - to form a government that collapsed the following year after rebel MLAs walked out. According to the Deccan Herald, Kumaraswamy is now ready to back whichever of the two national parties agrees to his terms, principal among which is that he become chief minister.

The two-time Karnataka leader is travelling to Singapore for a quick break before tomorrow's counting of votes. Speaking to the Deccan Herald before his trip, he said, "I am still confident about JDS winning at least 50 seats (and) am ready to strike a coalition with a party which agrees to my terms." Exit polls have suggested the JDS will win less than 30 seats but that should be enough to push either the Congress or the BJP over the majority mark of 113.

K'taka poll LIVE updates | Kumaraswamy's 'terms' to offer BJP, Cong support

That the JDS sees itself as potentially key player in this election - despite most likely securing the lowest number of seats - was also expressed on the day of voting. Kumaraswamy - after casting his vote - said his party would be 'king'.

"Requesting people to bless JDS candidates… our party (is) going to be ‘king’."

READ | Karnataka polls: JDS going to be 'king', says HD Kumaraswamy

Which way will the JDS lean?

The JDS does have a history of supporting both parties; in 2006 Kumaraswamy became chief minister for the first time after striking a deal with the BJP.

However, talk of either the Congress or the BJP reaching out has been denied by each side. For the BJP, Shobha Karandlaje told broadcaster NDTV 'there is no question (of a coalition' and that it expects to win a clear majority.

The Congress has not confirmed whether it did reach out but state boss DK Shivakumar's comments yesterday suggest not. "There are no chances of alliance with JDS. We will form the government on our own," he said.

READ | Karnataka election: Cong, 'kingmaker' JDS to ally? DK Shivakumar says

Shivakumar reinforced his party's plan to go it alone - no matter what - this morning, telling reporters he put little stock in exit poll figures.

"Exit polls have their own theory. We don't go by those samples… we will have a comfortable majority. I do not know about JDS, let them take their own call. I don't have any backup plan, my only plan is Congress party will come to power."

Meanwhile, another Congress leader, Randeep Surjewala, has claimed victory courtest the BJP having 'accepted' defeat. He too dismissed talk of a JDS deal.

READ | 'BJP has accepted defeat (in Karnataka)', declares Congres' Surjewala

The Deccan Herald report indicates Kumaraswamy's 'terms' to broadly be that he will have a free reign over governance and his leaders get prized portfolios.

With input from ANI

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