Congress, JD-S To Jointly Campaign For Karnataka By-Polls

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Bengaluru (IANS): Reaffirming its coalition government alliance, the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) would jointly campaign for the five by-elections in Karnataka on November 3, said leaders of both parties here on Saturday.

“As the BJP is our common rival, we have decided to have common candidates for all the five by-elections to avoid splitting votes, and jointly campaign to defeat the opposition contestants,” said Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here.

At a joint press conference with JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, its Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress, Siddaramaiah said leaders of both the parties would campaign for the candidates of both parties to ensure their victory in all the seats.

By-elections are being held in three Lok Sabha constituencies and two Assembly segments across the state to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of the sitting lawmakers in four seats and one due to death of a sitting Congress legislator.

The three Lok Sabha seats are Ballari (ST), Mandya and Shimoga, and the two Assembly seats in Ramanagara and Jamkhandi.

The JD-S is contesting in Mandya and Shimoga and in Ramanagara, while the Congress has fielded candidates in Ballari (reserved) and Jamkhandi in the state’s northwest region. Counting of votes will take place on November 6.

“Though both alliance partners fought against each other in the May 12 Assembly election, a hung verdict on May 16 forced us to form a post-poll alliance to form the coalition government and to keep the BJP out of power,” admitted Siddaramaiah.

Endorsing Siddaramaiah’s view, Gowda said both parties have decided to extend their alliance to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and field common candidates in all 28 parliamentary seats in the southern state.

“As the common goal is to defeat the BJP, we will have a seat-sharing agreement to field respective candidates where the parties are stronger across the state,” said Gowda.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa and party’s member B. Sreeramulu resigned from Shimoga and Ballari Lok Sabha seats after they were elected to the Assembly from Shikaripura in Shimoga district and Molakalmuru (ST) in Chitradurga district.

Similarly, JD-S member S. Puttaraju resigned from Mandya after he was elected to the Assembly from Melukote in Mandya district in the old Mysuru region. He is also Minister for Minor Irrigation in the coalition state government.

Congress legislator Siddu Nyamagouda died in a road mishap on May 28 in Bagalkot district. He was re-elected from Jamkhandi Assembly seat in the state’s northwest.

Asserting that there is harmony and understanding between the alliance partners on all issues, Kumaraswamy said the coalition government would complete its five-year term and both parties would contest Assembly and parliamentary elections jointly to protect the secular character of the state and prevent communal forces like the BJP from coming to power.

The Election Commission notified the by-polls on October 9, last date for nominations was October 16, scrutiny October 17 and last date for withdrawal of candidatures was October 20.

In the 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka, the BJP has 15, Congress 9 and the JD-S 1, with three seats lying vacant.

In the 224-member Assembly segments, the BJP has 104, Congress 79 and the JD-S 36.

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