BENGALURU: Congress and JD(S) will fight each other after all in the August 29 urban local bodies (ULBs) elections. Former prime minister and JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda on Sunday made it clear that the two parties cannot ally at the grassroots level but added that this will not affect the coalition at the state level or the parties’ plans to collaborate for the Lok Sabha elections.
The New Indian Express had earlier reported that grassroots level workers of both the parties, especially in the Old Mysuru region, were not in favour of an alliance. Confirming the same, Deve Gowda on Sunday said that his party will contest the elections for 105 ULBs independently. The decision is a major relief for district level workers of both the parties.
“We will fight the elections without any friction. Congress leaders also want the same. We will fight independently and this has been discussed with KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao,” Deve Gowda said. The announcement comes days after Dinesh Gundu Rao met Deve Gowda.
Up to 2,574 wards of 105 ULBs spread over eight districts in South Karnataka, three in coastal Karnataka and 11 in North Karnataka will go to polls on August 29. Many of the eight districts in South Karnataka see a direct fight between JD(S) and Congress. “If forced to work in alliance with JD(S), many local leaders will quit the party and won’t mind joining the BJP,” a district office-bearer of the Congress told TNIE, highlighting the competitiveness of ULB elections.
While Deve Gowda is confident that taking on the Congress at the ULB level will not affect the coalition at the state level, the party is ensuring a major revamp to make it battle-ready. Fresh appointments of mostly youngsters are expected at state, district, taluk and block level office bearers’ posts. Deve Gowda is undertaking a statewide tour where non-functional district units will be disbanded to make way for new faces.
JD(S)’ stand on not having an alliance with Congress for ULB elections comes at a time when the grand old party’s high command is said to have told state leaders to be open to coalition in select seats where BJP poses a threat.