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BJP-JD (U) finalise alliance in Karnataka

March 23, 2004 13:53 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday struck a poll pact with the Janata Dal (United) in Karnataka under which the former will contest 24 of the 28 parliamentary seats and 199 of the 224 assembly seats in the state. 

The arrangement was arrived at after JD (U) chief George Fernandes (his Samata Party recently merged with JD-U) spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and BJP president Venkaiah Naidu as also Arun Jaitley.

Asserting that the pact has been reached on the basis of "winnability" of each candidate, Jaitley said a joint campaign strategy will be worked out by the state leaders later.

Denying that the JD (U), which had wanted to contest 10 Lok Sabha and 95 assembly seats, had been given a rough deal, senior party leader, Digvijay Singh, said: "Both sides are satisfied with the understanding. We will fight the elections together under the NDA banner."

Asked why the alliance is shying away from declaring its chief-ministerial candidate, Jaitley said: "To decide it at a particular time is part of the party's electoral strategy. Where it (announcing the prospective chief minister) is helpful to the party we declare it," he said.

Digvijay Singh said the two parties are close to arriving at an understanding in Bihar and Jharkhand too.


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