'Division of secular votes led to Cong defeat'

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New Delhi, May 25: Blaming the Janata Dal (Secular) for the division of secular votes in Karnataka, the Congress Party today said the verdict against it in the assembly election in the southern state was not a referendum on the performance of the UPA government at the Centre.

AICC General Secretary in-charge of the Karnataka Prithviraj Chavan told mediapersons that the 'split' in the secular votes by the JD(S) had helped the BJP to gain more seats this time. In this context, he pointed out that though the number of seats won by the JD(S) had come down, its share of votes remained the same, affecting the prospects of the Congress Party in many constituencies.

Meanwhile, AICC Media Department Chairman Veerappa Moily said the party's defeat was not a reflection of the performance of the UPA government. Mr Chavan, who is also Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office said getting an absolute majority was not absolutely possible because of the three-way split in votes. "The secular votes of the Congress are getting divided," he added.

He also cited the delayed delimitation of constituencies and defective voters' list as reasons that contributed to the Congress' bad show in the poll to fill 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly.

In this context, Mr Chavan said the Congress was disadvantaged because of the announcement of the delimitation ''fairly late." The Congress did not get the time that was needed to revise the voter's list.

Asked if it was possible for the Congress to align with the JD(S) led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, he said these were decisions which had to be taken at the highest level in the Party High Command.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi suggested that the Congress and the JD(S) should form an alliance to form a government.

"Politics is all about reality," Dr Singhvi said when he was asked if it would be possible for the Congress to join hands again with with the JD(S) which ditched it and formed a government with the BJP and remained in power for nearly 20 months.

UNI

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