Expressing confidence about the coalition government under HD Kumaraswamy completing its five-year term, the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) on Tuesday said the formula adopted by the ruling Congress-JDS coalition in Karnataka during its cabinet formation and appointments to boards and corporations would be the basis of the discussion on seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
According to JD(S) secretary-general Danish Ali, preliminary discussions were already held on seat-sharing during the recent coordination committee meeting.
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"We are going to have more rounds of discussions and try to come out with a conclusion," he told reporters during the party’s national executive in Bengaluru.
"How many seats, which party will contest from where- is yet to be discussed. But, as you all know when this coalition was formed, I was one of the signatories to that. In the cabinet, in the board corporation nominations there will be one-third (for JD(S)), two-third (for Congress) formula, according to our strength in the assembly. So, the same formula will be the basis of the discussion for seat-sharing for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections," he said.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy had earlier expressed similar views.
"There are 28 seats...they (Congress) should take two-thirds and give us one-third, this is what his feeling is and mostly, I feel they will also agree," he had said.
Ali, however, said the JDS motive was very clear and "that is to stitch an alliance to defeat the BJP."
"... we want to scuttle the strength of BJP in Karnataka, that’s the main motive," he said.
The coalition leaders are likely to discuss seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls during the first week of February.
JD(S) has already expressed its desire to contest in 10-12 seats, on which the Congress party has some reservations, as it has maintained that seat sharing will be based on "merit."
Seat sharing is expected to be a litmus test, for both the parties, mostly in the old Mysuru region constituencies, where the JD(S) has emerged as a dominant force in recent past and the Congress has its sitting MPs.
Several senior Congress leaders and MPs, including Veerappa Moily, have reportedly asked the leadership not to cede nine seats where the party has its sitting MPs, to JD(S).
Responding to a question on Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy threatening to step down over adverse comments by a Congress MLA, Ali said the Congress high command had taken it seriously and has instructed their local leaders not to indulge in such activities, and there was good understanding between the leadership of both parties.
He said, "I think notices have have also been issued by Congress, but one thing is clear there is good understanding between the leadership of both the parties and this government is going to last its full five-year term."
"We will try our best to ensure that such things do not happen again and the government functions smoothly and we should not provide any opportunity for our political opponents," he said.
Underlining the significance of the national executive when the Lok Sabha elections are approaching fast, Ali said, "In Karnataka, we are with Congress, in Kerala we are with the Left front."
"So, we have to be very cautions, we are deliberating what political line we have to take in the coming elections, what all happened in the past few years and how can JD(S) play its role in bringing down the communal forces in the country," he said.
Ali said the JD(S) under the leadership of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has always played a key role in bringing together secular forces in the country.
After the state assembly elections, the process was started and on JD(S)' invitation regional secular forces along with the Congress came on one platform.
"Our belief is we can bring down the score of BJP in the Lok Sabha election, with state specific alliances," he said.
The JD(S) policy is whichever political party was strong in a particular state that party should take the lead and other parties must cooperate, Ali said.
Responding to a question about states other than Karnataka and Kerala from where JD(S) is looking to contest, the JDS leader said, "We are looking at Maharashtra and some north eastern states also like Arunachal Pradesh. But we don't want to divide secular votes also, we are discussing," he added.
(With PTI inputs)