Ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) has announced another alliance. After deciding to join hands with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), JD(S) will now ally with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). With the alliance, the JD(S) hopes to build a third front to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress.
State president of the JD(S) and former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy met NCP chief Shard Pawar on Thursday to seal the pre-poll alliance. The NCP is likely to contest 5-7 seats in North Karnataka- where the JD(S) is a distant third in comparison to the two national parties. Sharad Pawar will campaign in Karnataka for a week according to the JD(S)
Where NCP stands in Karnataka electoral politics
The NCP barely has a presence in the Karnataka electoral political scenario. While the party did not contest in the 2008 assembly polls, it contested 24 seats out of 224 in 2013 assembly elections. The party failed to win even a single seat, much like JD(S)' first pre-poll alliance partner, BSP.
In the 24 seats that it contested, the NCP polled 18,886 votes, pegging its total vote share at a dismal 0.06 per cent. Even in the constituencies that the party contested, it registered a vote share of 0.59.
With NCP by its side, the JD(S) hopes to dent prospects of the BJP and Congress in North Karnataka region- especially the Marathi-speaking belt of Mumbai Karnataka. In the 2013 assembly elections, NCP contested Sarvagnanagar, Athani, Kagwad, Raybag, Saundatti Yellama, Ramdurg, Singdi, Aland, Bidar, Aurad, Koppal, Gadag, Dharwad, Hubli-Dharwad central, Hubli-Dharwad West, Shiggaon, Harihar, Davangere North, Davangere South, Mayakonda, Chikmagalur, Pavagada, Rajajinagar, Mangalore city seats.
The JD(S), which has a formidable presence in parts of old Mysuru region, hopes to draw Dalit votes with BSP and make considerable inroads in regions of North-Karnataka with NCP.