Former Prime Minister Devegowda's Janata Dal-Secular is looking to strengthen the possibility of a third front ahead of Karnataka assembly elections 2018. After sealing a pre-poll alliance deal with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), JD(S) is now looking to join hands with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
JD(S) leader P G R Sindhia on Wednesday confirmed that his party was in talks with Asaduddin Owaisi for a formal tie-up ahead of the polls. While AIMIM has already made its intentions of contesting at least 60 seats in the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, the JD(S) as part of its pre-poll alliance has agreed to share 20 seats with BSP and 5-7 seats with the NCP. The JD(S) that is sure to contest all 224 seats has announced candidates for 126 seats for the upcoming polls.
Owaisi's AIMIM has identified more than 20 seats where they intend to field candidates. The venture of Muslim-focused parties like Mahila Empowerment Party (MEP) and AIMIM into the assembly polls is expected to eat into Congress' minority vote share. The JD(S) is currently in talks with Owaisi to jointly field candidates in constituencies with significant Muslim population to avoid further division of votes.
The JD(S) with its alliance with NCP hopes to avoid division of votes in the Mumbai-Karnataka region while its alliance with AIMIM is aimed at consolidating votes in the Hyderabad Karnataka region that has a significant minority population and is also culturally and geographically closer to Hyderabad- Owaisi's home turf.
"Congress has done nothing for minorities but only wants to paint a secular picture of itself. Minorities and Dalits have not received any help from either the BJP or the Congress. Our focus is to win the seats that we contest," Usman Ghani, the Karnataka Unit chief of AIMIM had told OneIndia while making AIMIM's entry into the poll fray official.
With various opinion polls consigning the JD(S) to not more than 35 or 40 seats in the upcoming polls, the party is keen on at least securing enough seats in case the results throw up a hung assembly.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|