BJP, JD-U begin Karnataka seat-sharing talks

April 13th, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), both constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), have started talks on seat sharing for the assembly polls in Karnataka but with little hope of any alliance in the state. The JD-U has sought 25 seats it contested in the last assembly elections as a junior NDA coalition partner. The BJP, on the other contrary, is at best willing for some token gesture. “All the JD-U leaders are with us, what is left in the JD-U?” said a BJP leader.

JD-U sources said here Sunday that party president Sharad Yadav dispatched general secretary Shambhu Srivastava to Bangalore Saturday to open negotiations with the BJP.

Srivastava, accompanied by state JD-U president B. Somashekhar, met BJP’s general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Jaitley, general secretary Ananth Kumar, BJP state president D.V. Sadanand Gauda and others Saturday night.

Though the two sides were circumspect in their comments, there were clear indications that the talks have made “no substantial improvement” in the current standoff between the BJP and JD-U in Karnataka.

“We have been trying our best, a lot depends on them,” Srivastava told IANS.

Jaitley, who returned here Sunday morning, did not seem to attach much significance to the talks. He dismissed the discussions - saying, “We keep talking” - and was non-committal on the outcome. “Let’s see,” he said.

Ananth Kumar was not accessible, and Jaitley said he too had returned to the national capital.

Thus, for the second round of talks with Srivastava and Somashekhar Sunday, only Sadanand Gauda and BJP chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yedyurappa were in Bangalore.

Indicating JD-U’s aspirations, a party leader said, “In the last elections we were allotted 25 seats by the BJP. We won five and came second on 10. Thus, we have a clear claim on 15 seats.”

Asked how many seats the BJP was willing to concede to the JD-U, he said, “Their state unit is opposed to any alliance and is unwilling to give any seats.”

The 224-member assembly is going to three-phased polls in May. In the last assembly, the BJP partnered the Janata Dal(Secular), headed by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, the alliance ruling the state for a little over 20 months.

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