Bengaluru: Reaffirming its coalition government alliance, the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) would jointly campaign for the five by-elections in Karnataka on November 3, said leaders of both parties on Saturday.
"As the BJP is our common rival, we have decided to have common candidates for all the 5 by-elections to avoid splitting votes and jointly campaign to defeat the opposition contestants," said Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah here.
At a joint press conference with JD-S supreme H.D. Deve Gowda, its Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress, Siddaramaiah said leaders of both the parties would campaign for the candidates of both the parties to ensure their victory in all the seats.
By-elections are being held in three Lok Sabha constituencies and two assembly segments in the state to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of the sitting lawmakers in four seats and in one due to death of a sitting Congress legislator.
The three Lok Sabha seats are in Ballari (Scheduled Tribes), Mandya and Shimoga and the two assembly seats in Ramanagara and Jamkhandi.
The JD-S is contesting in Mandya and Shimoga and in Ramanagara, while the Congress has fielded candidates in Ballari (reserved) and Jamkhandi in the state's northwest region. Counting of votes is on November 6.
"Though we fought against each other in the May 12 assembly election, a hung verdict on May 16 forced us to come together and form the coalition government for keeping the BJP out of power," admitted Siddaramaiah.
Endorsing Siddaramaiah's view, Gowda said both the parties have decided to extend their alliance to the Lok Sabha elections in early 2019 and field common candidates in all the 28 parliamentary seats in the southern state.
"As the common goal is to defeat the BJP, we will have a seat-sharing agreement to field respective candidates where the parties are stronger across the state," said Gowda.
BJP's state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa and its party's member B. Sriramulu resigned from Shimoga and Ballari Lok Sabha seats after they were elected to the assembly from Shikaripura in Shimoga district and Molakalmuru (ST) in Chitradurga district.
Similarly, JD-S member S. Puttaraju resigned from Mandya after he was elected to the assembly from Melukote in Mandya district in the old Mysuru region. He is also Minister for Minor Irrigation in the coalition government.
Congress legislator Siddu Nyamagouda died in a road mishap on May 28 in Bagalkot district. He was re-elected from Jamkhandi assembly seat in the state's northwest.
Kumaraswamy, who contested and won from the adjacent Channapatna and Ramanagara assembly seats, retained the former and resigned from the latter.
Asserting that there was harmony and understanding between the alliance partners on all issues, Kumaraswamy said the coalition government would complete its 5-year term and both the parties would contest assembly and parliamentary elections jointly to protect the secular character of the state and prevent communal forces like the BJP from coming to power.
The Congress has fielded its legislative council member V.S. Ugrappa in Ballari and Nyamagouda's son Anand Siddu from Jamkhandi, while L.R. Shivarama Gowda is contesting from Mandya, Madhu Bangarappa from Shimoga and Anitha Kumaraswamy from Ramangara.
The BJP has fielded Sriramulu's sister B. Shanta from Ballari, Yeddyurappa's son B.Y. Raghavendra from Shimoga, Siddaramaiah from Mandya, Srikant Kulkarni from Jamkhandi and L. Chandrashekar from Ramanagara.