'If JD(S) offers, we are open to an alliance': Karnataka BJP leader Jagadish Shettar

Jagadish Shettar was referring to an alliance between the two parties for the upcoming Belagavi Lok Sabha bye-polls.
BS Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar
BS Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar
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Karnataka Minister for Large Scale Industries and senior leader of the BJP, Jagadish Shettar, on Sunday said that the BJP would agree to an alliance with the JD(S) in the Belagavi Parliamentary bye-polls. Speaking to the media at Hubballi, he said, “BJP and JD(S) have a natural alliance. JD(S) helped us elect a Mayor for Bengaluru city. We welcome an alliance with the JD(S), if they offer to form one. If the JD(S) allies with us, it would be beneficial.” 

The Belagavi Lok Sabha seat became vacant after former parliamentarian Suresh Angadi died of COVID-19 on September 23.

He agreed with Kumaraswamy’s statement made on Saturday, where the former Chief Minister had said that allying with the Congress “destroyed” his reputation. “Kumaraswamy was right about being cheated by the Congress party. He is now regretting his decision. All opposition parties were formed in India as opposition to the Congress party. If Kumaraswamy had allied with the BJP, he would have been in power,” Jagadish Shettar said. 

On November 22, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had said that “contesting bye-elections is not strategically beneficial to the party”. “In my opinion, contesting the bye-elections is not beneficial for the party. Because we have seen the results so far," he said.

Jagadish Shettar’s statement, indicating a possible alliance between the BJP and JD(S), comes in the wake of speculation that the BJP and the JD(S) were in talks of an alliance. Over the last six months, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and HD Kumaraswamy have held several rounds of talks privately. 

The BJP is yet to decide on a candidate for the vacant seat. Jagadish Shettar himself is reportedly an aspirant for the ticket. BJP sources said that there was talk within the party that if Shettar is offered the ticket, he would step down as a Minister.

Meanwhile, recently Yediyurappa had met leaders in New Delhi in November, regarding the decision on whether there should be an expansion or a reshuffle. 

The cabinet reshuffle has been delayed in Karnataka after a standoff between the newly inducted ministers and the BJP’s old guard. Several BJP MLAs from the party’s stronghold: coastal Karnataka, had been kept out of the cabinet to make way for the MLAs who had defected from the Congress and JD(S). The BJP’s old guard had demanded that there had to a reshuffle. 

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