All options open: Gehlot on possible JDS tie-up
Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 15 : Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, on Tuesday, while remaining hopeful for a win in the Karnataka polls, suggested that his party was open to allying with the Janata Dal (Secular). "We hope Congress will form the Government in Karnataka and are confident of it, but yes all options (allying with JDS) are also open," said Gehlot, remaining unfazed by early trends in the ongoing counting of votes in Karnataka leaning towards a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lead. The latest trends in the counting of votes show the BJP leading in the state, with a hold over 85 seats, while the Congress currently holds 47, and the JD(S) ahead on 35 seats and two seats held by other parties. The Karnataka Assembly elections are crucial for both the BJP's and the Congress' chances in next year's Lok Sabha elections as a win here is most likely to give a boost for the winner's odds of prevailing in the biggest political battlefront. The Congress may gain some much-needed momentum in the run-up to the 2019 General elections by retaining their hold over Karnataka and may even challenge the BJPfor forming the Union Government, despite ruling in merely three states and one Union Territory. Meanwhile, a win for the BJP will not only further strengthen their hold over the country, with 21 incumbent governments as of now, but will also open the door to the Southern stronghold for the Narendra Modi-led party. The BJP fielded 223 candidates, while the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) fielded 222 and 201 candidates respectively. Out of the 224 seats, 36 of them are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs), while 15 of them are for Scheduled Tribes (STs). It may be noted that a party or an alliance needs 112 seats to form the government.
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