Karna by-polls: Not averse to joining hands with JD(S) again, says Cong

(Eds: Updates with Deve Gowda's statement) Bengaluru, Dec 1 (PTI) Sounding upbeat after forming a coalition government in Maharashtra, Congress in Karnataka on Sunday indicated 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 majority, after December 5 by-polls.

Even though JD(S) leaders have already dropped enough hints about the party being open to such a possibility, JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda's contradictory statement on Sunday points to lack of clarity within the regional party on the matter.

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

The ruling BJP led by Chief Minister B S 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 R R Nagar.

Rubbishing indications by Congress and JD(S) leaders of a possible post by-poll alliance, Yediyurappa said, such talks don't have any value, and asserted that BJP's candidates in all the 15 assembly constituencies going for bypolls would be victorious.

Speaking to reporters during campaign in poll bound Shivajinagar assembly segment here, he said, 'such talks don't have any value. Those who are insane are talking such things, and it doesn't have value.' With the campaigning for bypolls ending on Tuesday, political leaders are indulging in hectic electioneering in 15 constituencies to woo voters.

'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 media here, 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 the party took such a decision in the neighboring state to 'protect' democracy.

'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.

Former state Congress chief and Deputy Chief Minister in the coalition government, 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 was 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.

In a cryptic remark made in the context of the by-polls, Deve Gowda had recently said Congress President 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 situation arose.

Gowda's son 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.

However, Gowda on Sunday while taking strong exception to certain media reports that Congress and JD(S) MLA may jump ship to BJP after bypolls, said, 'why will it (government) collapse.... Yediyurappa has 105 MLAs....' 'We (Congress-JDS) will have to come together (for government to go)? but us joining together was projected as wrong in TV channels in the past.. we have got the enlightenment from it, so we wont do it again,' he said.

While on the other hand, reiterating his claim that there would be 'political changes' in the state after the December 5 bypolls, Kumaraswamy on Sunday said, it was not an exaggerated statement and there should be no doubt about it.

Responding to a question whether he will be a 'King maker' after the bypolls, he said, 'it is people, the voters of these 15 constituencies who are king makers, not me.' Among 15 constituencies going to the bypolls, 12 were held by Congress and three by JD(S), whose coalition government collapsed due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs.

With winning majority of seats being crucial for the government's survival, BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies. PTI KSU ROH ROH