With bypoll win, coalition bond just got stronger

Congress candidate V S Ugrappa celebrates with his supporters after his victory in the Bellary Lok Sabha byelection on Tuesday. dh photo

An upbeat Congress, bolstered by the semi-final scoreline of 4:1, has sounded the bugle for the big final and is convinced that a pre-poll alliance with the JD(S) is the way to go in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“The bypoll was a semi-final to the Parliament election and people of Karnataka have solidly proved that they are in favour of the Congress-JD(S) alliance and a Congress-led alliance (at the national level),” AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal said. “We will definitely continue our alliance with the JD(S) for the 2019 polls.”

The Karnataka bye-election was significant in that it was a litmus test for the Congress-JD(S) alliance. “It’s a clear approval from the people of Karnataka for this coalition and they have categorically approved the policies and programmes of the coalition headed by H D Kumaraswamy,” Venugopal said.

The bye-election loss adds to a string of defeats the BJP has faced in the recent past, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao pointed out.

“The Congress won the bye-elections to the Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituencies. We also won the two Legislative Council bye-elections. Recently, the Congress won the highest number of local body seats. Now, we have not only defeated the BJP, we have decimated them,” he said. Although the JD(S) lost the Shimoga bypoll, Kumaraswamy said it was a “moral victory.”

Joining hands with the Congress for the 2019 polls will give the regional party a chance to increase its numbers. Till date, the JD(S) has been able to win the Lok Sabha election either in Mandya or Hassan. With Congress’ support, it will be in a position to improve its base in more number of constituencies. As part of the alliance, the JD(S) is likely to field candidates in nine out of the 28 constituencies.

Aside from improving its electoral prospects, the JD(S) also realises that by sticking with the Congress, it can continue in power for a longer term in Karnataka, with Kumaraswamy at the helm.

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With bypoll win, coalition bond just got stronger

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