JD(S) may consider forming a coalition government in Karnataka: Kumaraswamy
Going back on its previous statement, the Janata Dal (Secular) which had earlier claimed that it would be the king and not a kingmaker post Karnataka Assembly election, said on May 7 that in the event of a fractured mandate, it might examine the possibility of a coalition government with a precursor that its manifesto should be implemented in toto.
Speaking to reporters after releasing a 63-page manifesto here on Monday, the JD(S) Karnataka unit president HD Kumaraswamy promised to write off the entire debt burden of farmers within 24 hours of the party’s coming to power. He said that the waiver will include cooperative, public sector and private sector banks and made a host of other promises including Rs 6,000 pension for all persons aged 65 years and above, free organ transplant, an honorarium of Rs 2,000 for pregnant and new mothers. He also promised that the government will meet the dialysis cost of kidney patients.
Kumaraswamy said education will be free for all and donation in schools and colleges will be banned. He also assured paying Rs 6,000 to 7,000 for 10 lakh rural youth who would be mainly used to plant tree saplings across the state. The party also promised to promote tourism in a big way and provide jobs to 50 lakh youth in this sector.
The JD(S) chief stressed that the party was poised to cross the 113-mark in the 224-member Assembly and rejected claims of pre-poll surveys that gave the HD Devegowda party fewer seats ranging from 25 to 45.
He also said that the JD(S) may examine forging a coalition in the event of a fractured mandate, provided the two national parties (Congress or BJP) agree to implement the JD-S manifesto in its entirety. “I will not ask for the Chief Minister’s post. If they (Congress or BJP) come to my door seeking partnership, then I will think in these terms. This is not a U-turn. We are still confident of winning a majority, though,” he stated.
His statement comes contrary to the repeated assertion by party national president and his father, HD Devegowda, who had said that if the party did not attain majority, it would sit in the Opposition. He had ruled out any possibility of a tie-up with either the Congress or the BJP. Several pre-poll surveys had indicated that Karnataka would witness a fractured mandate with Congress and BJP gaining a larger share and the JD(S) a distant third.
The JD(S) manifesto gives special focus to agriculture and to mitigating the problems of farmers. Besides loan waiver, it also promises to adopt the Israel model of agriculture, if voted to power. The party would also provide BPL card holders 30 kg rice for free and free bus pass for senior citizens. It has promised to set up special agricultural zones, promotion of course grain farming and development of animal husbandry and organic farming.
Listing the priorities of his party, Kumaraswamy said that education will get a lot of focus with up-gradation of government schools. While promising to implement various irrigation projects, he said the plains of the state that faced shortage of water would be provided 60 tmc ft of water from various sources.
The JD(S), which is eyeing minority votes in a big way, also promised free education and financial security to Muslims and other minority communities and a separate Muslim University. The Sachar Committee report will be totally implemented, the party’s manifesto has promised. It has offered as many as 17 programmes for minorities, mainly Muslims.
Bengaluru development will be another focus area where 50 lakh people will be provided jobs and various new projects will be implemented.