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Owaisi’s AIMIM lends support to JD(S) in Karnataka assembly elections

Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s JD(S) already has a pre-poll alliance with BSP, and the support of TRS. Analysts say the coalition will hurt Congress’ prospects in the elections.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2018 22:12 IST
Vikram Gopal, Bengaluru
Asaduddin Owaisi,Owaisi,JD-S
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said he would canvas for JD(S) candidates and address rallies if CM hopeful HD Kumaraswamy wanted him to.(PTI/File Photo)

The Janata Dal (Secular) has managed to get another ally on board ahead of the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections, with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) supremo Asaduddin Owaisi announcing on Monday that he will support the party.

Owaisi said he will not field any candidate in Karnataka. The JD(S) already has a pre-poll alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and has the support of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

“We will try and campaign for HD Kumaraswamy and ensure he becomes chief minister. I believe it is in national interest, and Karnataka’s interest, that a non-BJP, non-Congress government is formed in the state,” Owaisi said.

Kumaraswamy is the son of former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, and currently, the state president of the party.

Owaisi added that he would canvas for JD(S) candidates and address rallies if Kumaraswamy wanted him to. “We will not field any candidates this time, but will strengthen our party and contest the forthcoming municipal elections,” he added.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Kumaraswamy said he welcomed Owaisi’s decision. “Owaisi has said that JD(S) should come to power because BJP and Congress have not helped the people,” the former Karnataka chief minister said.

Kumaraswamy said Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao, who had visited former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda’s residence on Friday, had assured him that he would get Owaisi back the JD(S). “Rao held talks with me and Deve Gowda. He too wants a regional party to come to power in the state, because he feels only such parties can address the issues of the people,” Kumaraswamy said.

The JD(S) leader said AIMIM’s support would definitely benefit his party. “We will definitely benefit from these coalitions. Even if there is an increase of vote share by 2-3%, it will help me achieve my dream of winning 113 seats,” he added.

Political analyst Narayana A, faculty at Azim Premji University, said in the first-past-the-post system, none of these coalitions could be taken lightly. “Every vote matters in a multi-cornered fight,” he said.

According to Narayana, more than the likely benefits for the JD(S), Owaisi’s support might hurt the Congress if some votes shift. “While none of these leaders (Owaisi or KCR) might be able to swing large number of votes in the state, but whatever little they might bring will be at the expense of the Congress,” he said.

Speaking about the JD(S)’s campaign so far, Narayana said it was still concentrated on consolidating Vokkaliga votes. Kumaraswamy hails from this community, which is dominant in the southern region of the state. “There is no big departure from its political stand, because the JD(S)’s campaign is traditionally to consolidate Vokkaliga votes and attempt to win some Muslim votes.”

The result of the election will be out on May 15.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 15:33 IST