The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Thursday announced an alliance for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections. They said they will be fighting against both the Congress and the BJP in the state.
As per the understanding, the BSP would contest 20 seats out of the total 224, while the JD-S would contest the rest. But on all seats, the two parties would support each other, BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Misra and JD-S secretary general Kunwar Danish Ali said at a joint press conference.
Asked if the alliance would eat into the "secular" votes and would primarily hurt the Congress, Danish Ali said there was no question of eating into anybody's votes as the JD-S had its own strength and presence in Karnataka.
"In the last elections, we got one per cent more vote than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and as many seats as them. Still you are asking us this question," Ali said.
In the 2013 assembly elections, the Congress got 122 seats with 36.5 per cent vote share and formed the government. The BJP and JD (S) got 40 seats each with around 20 per cent vote share.
Misra said extending issue-based support to the opposition parties was one thing and contesting elections another.
Asked how the present alliance could be seen in the context of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which some opposition parties were keen to rally support of non-NDA parties to defeat the BJP, Misra said the current focus was only on the Karnataka polls which were "nearest".
"As of now, there is no opposition alliance or third front. Right now we are focusing on Karnataka elections which are nearest. We will see what happens before the 2019 elections. But yes, on issues we are with the rest of the opposition," Misra said.
The two parties are scheduled to hold a meeting in Bengaluru on February 17 where the poll planks and other things would be discussed.