HDK, Karnataka, JD (S), Congress
Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru that there has been no discussion on seat-sharing between the parties till now | File photo

2024 LS polls: Kumaraswamy leaves for Delhi for talks on JD(S)-BJP ties

Former CM to meet Amit Shah, JP Nadda; says PM Modi and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda may also hold talks on the topic, if required

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JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy left for New Delhi on Thursday (September 21) to discuss the alliance with BJP in Karnataka for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national President JP Nadda.

The former Karnataka chief minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda may also hold talks on the topic, if required. Gowda, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, is in Delhi.

“This evening, there is a meeting. Once we have the outcome of the meeting, tomorrow I will share everything openly with your Delhi correspondents,” Kumarswamy told PTI before leaving for the national capital.

“No discussion on seat-sharing”

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said there has been no discussion on seat-sharing between both parties till now.

“Neither have we thought about it (seats) so far, nor have they (BJP) proposed anything in this regard. When we discuss in the evening, we will discuss in detail about 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,” he added.

Asked whether the alliance will be finalised today, Kumaraswamy said, “Let’s see.”

To a question as to whom he will meet in Delhi, he said, “Discussion is with their (BJP) decision makers like Amit Shah (Home Minister) and their President JP Nadda. If required, Narendra Modi and Deve Gowda will talk.”

Uncertainty over ties

Talks on alliance between the two parties have been in the limelight ever since veteran BJP leader BS Yediyurappa, who is also a parliamentary board member of the party, had said earlier this month that his party will have an understanding with JD(S) for the Lok Sabha elections, and the regional outfit will contest in four LS seats in Karnataka, which has a total of 28 constituencies.

However, Yediyurappa subsequently said discussions in this regard have not reached finality yet, and Modi and Shah, who are busy with other responsibilities, may discuss and decide on the issue in a few days.

The BJP had swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, winning 25 seats, while an independent candidate (Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya) backed by it won one seat. The Congress and JD(S) won one seat each.

In the elections to the 224-member Assembly held in May this year, the Congress bagged 135 seats, while the BJP secured 66 and the JD(S) 19.

Following the Assembly poll results, there were reports that JD(S) would enter into an alliance with the BJP to fight the Lok Sabha polls. It was also said that the JD(S) leaders had met BJP central leadership in Delhi in this regard.

However, Deve Gowda had subsequently indicated the party will contest the Lok Sabha polls alone.

Matter of survival

JD(S) had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress, as both parties were then running a coalition government under the chief ministership of Kumaraswamy.

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 maximum number of seats, sources 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 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 said.

JD(S) had earlier formed governments in coalition with both BJP and Congress respectively for 20 months from January 2006, and for 14 months from May 2018, with Kumaraswamy as the chief minister.

(With agency inputs)

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