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To protect democracy: Congress, JDS may tie-up after Karnataka bypolls


Bengaluru, Dec 01: Sounding upbeat after forming a coalition government in Maharashtra, the Congress in Karnataka on Sunday made it clear that it was not averse to joining hands with JD(S) once again in case the ruling BJP fails to garner required number of seats to be in the majority after December 5 bypolls.

Mallikarjun Kharge

JD(S) leaders have already dropped enough hints about the party being open to such a possibility.

The Congress and JD(S), who ran a coalition government for 14 months in the state and contested Lok Sabha polls in alliance had parted ways after the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government in July following a rebellion by 17 MLAs, and are contesting the bypolls independently.

The ruling BJP, led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, needs to win at least six seats in the bypolls to 15 constituencies to remain in a majority in the 224-member assembly, which would still have two vacant seats - Maski and RR Nagar.

Karnataka bypolls: 165 candidates in fray, Congress, BJP both have 15 candidatesKarnataka bypolls: 165 candidates in fray, Congress, BJP both have 15 candidates

"In order to protect the constitution, democracy and to provide social justice with secular principles, when the situation arises, we will take necessary steps after discussing with our allies and UPA partners on such a matter," veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.

Speaking to reporters in Bangaluru he said, "Let's see what happens in the future. Winning in 15 seats is what we are looking for. We will let you know. We will give you a correct picture on December 9. We will give you good news."

Kharge, who is also Congress General Secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, where the party formed a coalition government in alliance with Shiv Sena and NCP and successfully managed to keep BJP out of power, noted that the party took such a decision in the neighboring state to "protect" democracy and in the interest of the people.

"Look at Maharashtra where Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have formed a government together. To tell you the truth, our President (Sonia Gandhi) was not in favour of it and wanted us to be in opposition, but the people, parties with progressive thinking told us to look at keeping BJP away from power," he said.

Under pressure from legislators, and other parties including leftist parties, a decision was taken with an intention to keep out BJP, which is "fascist" and functions against the democracy, he added.

Another senior Congress leader G Parameshwara too said there was a possibility for Congress and JD(S) coming together if the situation arises, and it would be examined and decided by the high command.

He said, "After results are out on December 9, if Congress gets more seats and BJP gets less, government will collapse, then we will have two options - one, not forming the government and staying out, while the second will be to join hands with JD(S) to form a coalition government again."

"There is possibility of coming together. Are we in a position to face mid-term polls immediately? Should we impose another election on the people? I think we may look at the possibilities of going for a coalition government once again, but the decision will be taken by the high command looking at pros and cons, as they did in Maharashtra," he added.

Parameshwara, a former state Congress chief was the Deputy Chief Minister in the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy.

JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda in a cryptic remark made in the context of the by-polls had recently said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's decision after the bypolls should be watched out for, leading to speculation about the possible coming together of the two parties once again, if the situation arose.

Deve Gowda's son HD Kumaraswamy too had said there would be a stable government in the state after the bypolls, but not necessarily that of BJP, as he asked media persons to wait for December 9 bypoll results.

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