Bengaluru: The Janata Dal (S) on Thursday entered into a poll alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) for the forthcoming Karnataka assembly elections.
National General Secretary of BSP, Satish Chandra Misra and National Secretary General of JD(S), Danish Ali announced this at a joint press conference held in New Delhi. The BSP will contest 20 Assembly seats spread across 14 districts.
The 20 seats which the BSP will contest include Chamarajnagar, Gundlupet, Kollegal (SC), Anekal, Nippani, Chikkodi-Sadalaga, Raibag (SC) Honnali, Bidar North, Chittapur (SC), Kalaburgi Rural (SC), Vijayanagar, Bagalkote city, Karkala, Hubbali-Dharwad (East-SC), Byadagi, Shirahatti (SC), Gadag, Babaleshwara, Sullya (SC). Mr Ali and Mr Misra said BSP chief, Mayawati would jointly campaign with JD(S) supremo and former PM, H.D. Deve Gowda.
It is not clear whether the the alliance was struck to divide the Congress' Dalit votes. Both parties chose the national capital to make their announcement.
Sources in the JD(S) and a few Dalit leaders felt this might end up being a 'zero sum game'. "In the seats given to the BSP, the JD (S) is not a strong force therefore, it would be difficult to say if the JD (S) would really be of any help to the BSP in their attempt to win these seats. Considering the JD (S) voters' hostility towards Dalits in many constituencies in south Karnataka, it would be a challenge for JD(S) to transfer the Vokkaligas votes to BSP," sources said.
A Dalit leader felt that after the 2004 assembly elections, the BSP failed to make a dent in the Dalit votes of the two national parties. "Perhaps in places like Kollegal where the BSP is strong, it can help JD (S) to split the community votes. Otherwise, considering the vote share that the BSP got in the 2013 assembly elections, it would be difficult to say whether it would help the JD (S) in a big way," the leader said.