Bengaluru: Even as early trends on voting day in the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 showed a neck-and-neck battle between BJP and Congress, political analysts began examining the signifiance of the role that JD-S could play.
While BJP and Congress were in a close contest as per initial trends, JD-S too showcased a spirited fight in the third position. In case of a fractured mandate, support from JD-S could mean which the other bigger two parties forms the next government. And perhaps not willing to make the mistakes it had made in Goa and Manipur, Congress flew in senior leaders Ashok Gehlot and Ghulam Nabi Azad to Karnataka - a move being seen as crucial in case post-poll negotiations are needed.
Gehlot, while displaying confidence on the outside, has not ruled out post-poll alliances. "These are initial trends but we hope Congress will form the government in Karnataka and are confident of it," he told news agency ANI even as counting was taking place. "But yes, all options (allying with JDS) are open."
Other senior Congress leaders too began mulling the option of combining with JD-S.
Correct position will be known at 11-11.30 am. I am going to discuss it( possibility of alliance with JDS) with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot.: Mallikarjun Kharge,Congress #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/vvUqunzVA6
— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
Both Congress and BJP had previously said they would cross the majority mark on their own. This despite almost every exit poll predicting a fractured mandate. In this possible scenario, support from JD-S could tilt the balance in favour of either Congress or BJP. BJP's party chief Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview to Zee News before polling, had however said there is no chance of having post-poll partners. "We don't have pre-poll alliances, so there is no chance of having post-poll partners," he had said.
The final result, however, could well create new friends and bitter foes.