Senior Congress leaders said on Tuesday the party was open to an alliance with Janata Dal(Secular) but pointed out it was too early to predict the outcome of the Karnataka assembly elections as the Bharatiya Janata Party pulled ahead about an hour and a half into the counting of votes.
The Congress was leading in 65 of the state’s 224 assembly seats.
Regional party Janata Dal (Secular) was leading in 38 seats; the party could play kingmaker if neither the Congress nor the BJP gets a majority in what is seen as the first major battle that sets the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha.
“These are initial trends. We hope Congress will form the government in Karnataka and is confident of it. But yes all options are open,” Ashok Gehlot was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“The correct position will be known at 11-11.30am. I am going to discuss it (the possibility of an alliance with JD(S)) with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot,” Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI.
Up next this year are big contests in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and a win on Tuesday will be a big boost for both the BJP and the Congress.
The Congress, reeling from a series of setbacks in several assembly elections, hopes to keep Karnataka, the last major state outside Punjab where it holds power.
Voting was held in 222 seats and a party needs to win 112 seats today for a majority.
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