BENGALURU: Under compulsion to put up a united front in the face of skirmishes between party workers at the ground level, leaders of alliance partners JD(S) and Congress came together on Tuesday to make it clear that they will not only fight the parliamentary elections as allies but will also campaign jointly in all seats. In a clear message to workers at a joint press conference, they said all differences need to be set aside to ensure the defeat of the BJP in Karnataka. This is the first time the two parties have made an effort to present a picture of unity after their pre-bypoll show in Ballari in October last year.
Congress insiders said the press conference was the result of high command insisting on a symbolic show of unity amid reports of trouble over seat-sharing. The parties said their joint campaign will kick off with a massive public meeting on March 31.
“From now on, whenever spokespersons of either party speak, they should represent both parties and not Congress or JD(S) independently,” JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda announced, with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leader Siddaramaiah sitting next to him. He said the coalition will ensure that the BJP will not touch double digits in the state.
However, at an event that was all about unity, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara was missing. Parameshwara, said to be upset with the Tumkur seat being given to the JD(S), cited personal reasons for his absence.The leaders of Congress and JD(S) appealed to party workers to leave all disputes to be sorted out by senior leaders and not speak about them publicly.
‘We will sort out all differences’
“Both parties will issue strict orders to their district units that whatever differences exist, they must be overlooked with the single intention of defeating the BJP. Everybody must work together. We will appoint one observer from each party in every constituency and also appoint senior leaders from both parties to supervise preparations,” said Siddaramaiah.
“There are some small issues in some constituencies but it is not impossible to solve them. Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah are capable of handling them,” Kumaraswamy said. The press conference was an attempt to tell the workers as well as the public that both parties were working together to solve the problems.
“From now on, legislators or district leaders should not make unwanted statements. Our aim is to stop communal forces. Ironing out differences before filing nominations is our responsibility. Siddaramaiah and I have taken it upon ourselves. We will sort out all differences with seniors like D K Shivakumar, Kumaraswamy, G Parameshwara, Dinesh Gundu Rao and Eshwar Khandre,” said Gowda.
The alliance partners will launch their joint campaign for the Lok Sabha polls with a massive public meeting, expected to be held in South Karnataka, on March 31. AICC president Rahul Gandhi is expected to be part of the rally that will witness leaders of the JD(S) and the Congress, including Deve Gowda, Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjun Kharge and Parameshwara share stage. Expressing confidence about the success of the coalition, Gowda said the BJP may not even cross single digits in the Lok Sabha polls. “Apart from retaining the 12 seats, we will also win seats held by the BJP. We will not let them (BJP) reach two digits,” said Gowda.
Both parties will issue strict orders to their district units that whatever differences exist, they must be overlooked with the single intention of defeating the BJP. Everybody must work together Siddaramaiah, Coordination panel chairman
There are some small issues in some constituencies. But it is not impossible to solve them. Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah are capable of handling them H D Kumaraswamy, Chief Minister