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JD(S)-Cong Combine to Fight Karnataka Civic Polls Separately, BJP Predicts Govt's Fall Post Elections

The decision was taken as the top leadership of both the parties felt the local workers were not entirely happy with the alliance and there was a possibility that they could work against each other or even move to the BJP.

D P Satish | CNN-News18dp_satish

Updated:September 3, 2018, 7:35 AM IST
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JD(S)-Cong Combine to Fight Karnataka Civic Polls Separately, BJP Predicts Govt's Fall Post Elections
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy greets Rahul Gandhi. (PTI)
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Bengaluru: The stability of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka may be decided by the outcome of the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections on August 29.

The ruling alliance partners have decided to fight the civic polls separately, apparently in a bid to keep local workers happy. However, some leaders fear that the move may widen the gap between the parties in Bengaluru.

The state election commission has declared elections to 29 municipalities with 927 wards, 53 town municipalities with 1,247 wards and 23 town panchayats with 400 wards on August 29. The remaining 105 local bodies will vote later.

Even though some leaders of both the parties wanted an alliance in the elections, the top leadership decided against it, keeping local sentiments in mind. According to them, local workers were not completely happy with the JD(S)-Congress alliance and there was a possibility that they could work against each other or even move to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The leadership also did not want to make the elections a two-horse race between the coalition and the opposition BJP. A senior Congress leader told News18 that such an arrangement would polarise voters, who may go against the ruling combine.

History also seems to favour the decision of the top leadership. There was no seat-sharing between the two parties during their combined rule between 2004 and 2006 and they had fought the civic polls separately.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundurao said he had left it to the discretion of district party units and the state leadership would not interfere in civic polls. Speaking to News18, he said: “Civic polls are fought on local issues such as road and water. They are not fought on ideology or political issues. Both Congress and JD(S) have a strong local-level base. If our local units go for seat-sharing at some places, we have no objection to it. Except the BJP, we can have an understanding with most political parties.”

JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and his chief minister son HD Kumaraswamy have also opposed a seat-sharing arrangement.

The BJP, however, is confident that the current coalition will collapse after the civic polls. State president BS Yeddyurappa said the urban population would vote against the “unholy” alliance.

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