SDPI threatens to go it alone in Karnataka assembly polls, but Cong wants pact
Trouble seems to be brewing between prospective allies, with SDPI claiming that the Congress ditched it in the 2018 assembly elections in Karnataka though there was a tacit understanding between them. However, on Friday the Congress expressed hope that the parties would fight the upcoming poll together.
Addressing reporters at Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district on Thursday, national general secretary of SDPI, Elyas Thumbe said, “We are not going to commit the mistake (of having truck with the Congress) again.” There is no question of SDPI withdrawing from the election fray this time, said Thumbe, who has been nominated as the SDPI candidate for Bantwal constituency in the coming assembly polls.
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Responding to a reporter’s query on Thumbe’s claims today, Karnataka Congress’ Campaign Committee chief M B Patil said, “Even now we expect that SDPI should support Congress to defeat the BJP.” “Congress is a secular party, SDPI cannot win (seats), they can divide votes, which will affect Congress.” Thumbe, earlier, said the SDPI lost badly in the last elections by trusting the Congress, which had offered to support them in some constituencies.
The SDPI had decided to field 25 candidates during the last elections. However, there was an agreement as per a request from influential Congress leaders on two conditions. It was agreed that SDPI will contest only in three seats and Congress would field weak candidates there and ensure that SDPI candidates emerged victorious from those seats. SDPI was to support Congress candidates in other seats in return, he recalled.
However, the Congress did not stick to its word as some of its leaders joined the BJP. It was a betrayal from the Congress side, which led to BJP win in many seats, Thumbe said. The SDPI has started focussing on election work right from the ground level this time.
Meanwhile, Senior BJP leader and Union Minister of State Shobha Karnadlaje said, it is clear that Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister of the Congress government helped Popular Front of India (PFI), Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), by filing ‘B report’ on cases against them and releasing them on jail, for the sake of “adjustment politics” with SDPI, and to appease a particular community.
“Congress and SDPI are two sides of the same coin, there is no difference between them. Congress and SDPI’s relationship needs to be investigated. Discussions should happen on this and people should understand the Congress’ mindset,” she told media in Bengaluru.