Karnataka polls: JD(S) and BSP make pre-poll alliance official, BSP to contest 20 seats

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The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Janata Dal-Secular will jointly contest the Karnataka Assembly Election 2018. Mayawati's party will contest 20 seats from 14 districts with the backing of the JD(S).

Leaders of both parties, Danish Ali of JD (S) and Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP, made the announcement official during a joint press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. With the tie-up, the JD (S) and BSP hope to consolidated Dalit votes which is traditionally divided between Congress and JD (S) apart from smaller parties and independent candidate. According to leaked data from the Caste Census commissioned by the Siddaramaiah government, Dalits form the largest chunk of voters in the state- the primary reason for the Congress' AHINDA (acronymn for Minorities, Backward classes and Dalits) push.

Karnataka polls: JD(S) and BSP make pre-poll alliance official, BSP to contest 20 seats

The first such pre-poll alliance ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Election 2018, the JD(S) which secured 40 seats in the 2013 assembly polls will join hands with BSP that contested 175 seats but failed to secure a single seat. According to the agreement between the two parties, BSP will contest 20 seats from 14 districts. Three seats of Kollegal, Chamarajnagar, Gundlupet in Chamarajnagar district, Anekal of Bengaluru urban, Nippani, Raibagh, Chikkodi-Sadalga of Belgaum, Honalli of Davangere, Bidar (North) from Bidar district, Chittapur and Kalburgi rural from Kalburgi, Vijaynagar from Ballari, Bagalkot city, Karkala in Udupi, Hubbali-Dharwad (East), Byadgi of Haveri, Shirahatti and Gadag city in Gadag district, Babaleshwar in Bijapur and Suliya in Mangaluru have been earmarked for BSP to contest from. Eight out of the 20 constituencies are reserved for SC candidate.

JD(S) had secured 40 out of the 224 seats with a vote share of 20.19 per cent in the previous assembly election in Karnataka. The BSP contested 175 seats in the previous election but failed to secure a single seat with a vote share of 0.91 percent.

The JD(S) has lost 9 seats after party supremo H D Devegowda suspended MLAs, including their prominent Muslim face Zameer Ahmed, for anti-party activities.

The pre-poll alliance comes weeks after JD(S) chief H D Devegowda said that his party was open to an alliance with left parties. JD(S) has mostly played kingmaker in Karnataka electoral politics with its formidable influence in the old Mysuru region and pockets of Bengaluru rural and North Karnataka. The possible consolidation of Dalit votes with the alliance is likely to dent Congress' vote share in the upcoming assembly elections.

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