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Congress not in favour of encore with JD(S)

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Congress Election Management and Coordination Committee chairman S.M. Krishna on Tuesday said the Congress would be reluctant to join hands with the Janata Dal (Secular) to form a government if it failed to get a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

Addressing a press conference at his Sadashivanagar residence here after campaigning in about 100 Assembly constituencies across the State, Mr. Krishna said the Congress had had a bitter experience with the JD(S). Its “betrayal” could neither be forgiven not forgotten. The Congress would think a million times before it went in for a similar arrangement, he said.

The results of the third phase of polling on Thursday would be “exciting” for the party, he said and maintained that the party would manage to get a simple majority in the Assembly. Belgaum and Gulbarga divisions, where party stalwarts such as M. Mallikarjun Kharge, N. Dharam Singh and A.B. Maalaka Reddy were in the fray, would bring good results. There was no question of seeking support from any other party to form the government, he said.

To persistent questions whether the Congress would rule out an alliance with the JD(S) even it if failed to get a majority, Mr. Krishna said that apart from the JD(S), there were other parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and independent candidates to bank upon. But such decisions would be taken by the high command, depending on the post-election composition of the Legislative Assembly.

He declined to comment when asked whether he was in the race for the post of Chief Minister. “I am not making any statement on the Chief Minister’s post,” he said. At the same time, Mr. Krishna made it clear that he was not interested in taking up a post at the Centre. He would decide on his next course of action on May 25.

Since it was the high command and the Congress Legislature Party that would decide on the matter, Mr. Krishna said that he would not scratch his head about it. While he did not find fault with Mr. Siddaramaiah making a claim for the post, he said did not want to make even a qualified statement on it.

Mr. Krishna exuded confidence that the people would not give a fractured verdict this time, as they had a bitter experience with coalition governments. Rising prices would not have any effect on the Assembly elections. Moreover, the anti-incumbency factor would work in favour of the Congress, he claimed.

Though he defended the party’s decision not to field a candidate in Shikaripur against Samajwadi Party State president S. Bangarappa, Mr. Krishna was not ready to hazard a guess on whether the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa would win from the constituency.

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