BJP will contest Karnataka elections on its own: Amit Shah

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will go it alone in Karnataka and contest every seat, party president Amit Shah said in an interview earlier this week, putting to rest speculation that the party would ally with the Janata Dal (Secular) of H.D. Deve Gowda.

The party is also confident of doing better in the 2019 general elections than it did in 2014. BJP will not only do as well as it did in 2014 in key states such as Uttar Pradesh (where it won 73 of 80 Lok Sabha seats) but also make gains in Odisha, West Bengal and the North-East, Shah said.

It is also closely looking at Tamil Nadu. With the entry of actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth into politics, Shah said, equations in the state have changed and involve more than just the two mainstream parties that have dominated for the past five decades —the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). A lot could happen in politics between now and 2019, Shah admitted, but if general elections were held today, the BJP would do better than it did in 2014.

Shah was also sure that the BJP will retain the three important states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, where it is the incumbent, and which go to polls towards the end of this year. There has been some talk of the BJP changing around the dates so that the Lok Sabha elections are held alongside polls to these three states. Shah laughed this question away. “Even if we were planning to do this, I’m not going to tell you,” he said.

In recent months, there has been growing discussion around simultaneous elections in order to reduce the time politicians spend campaigning and increase the time they spend governing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken of the need for this on at least a few occasions.livemint