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Congress should lead the grand alliance against BJP: Kumaraswamy

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Bengaluru, Nov 6 (IANS) Bolstered by the bypoll success of the JD-S-Congress coalition in the bypolls, Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday that Congress should lead the proposed grand alliance against the BJP in the 2019 elections as it will be the leading party of the opposition and will win the largest number of seats.

He also said that all regional parties must come together to support the Congress in the next general election.

"Naturally, for the future election, Congress is the national party. They are going to get individually more number of seats. Because of that reason, they have to lead. Congress has to take the lead. For Congress, all regional parties must come together and support," Kumaraswamy told NDTV.

He said victory of the JD-S-Congress coalition on Tuesday in four of the five parliamentary and assembly seats, for which elections were held last week, was a message to the people of the state.

"Definitely, it (by-elections) is going to give a message to the Karnataka voters. This result is going to influence 2019 elections too," he said.

Kumarawamy said that the next general election "will be a successful result" for the opposition including the Congress and the regional parties.

"Yeah they are going to get it (the majority). People are going to bless Mahaganthbandhan. People are fed up with the present system of the country, they want an alternate," Kumarawamy said.

Asked about possible reservations of BSP leader Mayawati and Trinamool Congress chief Mamta Banerjee to the Congress leading the alliance, he said, "if there is no combination also (ahead of the polls) then everyone will come together after the polls."

Asked if Rahul Gandhi should lead the alliance, Kumaraswamy said his remarks should not be judged from the fact that the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular were running a coalition government in the state and the Congress chief had supported him.

"If you ask me my individual opinion, Rahulji is actually very innocent and very friendly. Once he is committed, he is committed to get the work (done) according to my experience."

Asked about the perception that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have an advantage if Gandhi is projected as the opposition face, Kumaraswamy said: "Rahul is innocent in politics according to my experience. He is very sincere and very honest."

He said taking on Modi or not was a different issue "but ultimately the decision has to be taken by the citizens. They (people) have to take proper decisions."

The ruling alliance in Karnataka trounced the BJP 4-1 in the bye-elections in Karnataka winning two Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies, while conceding the Shimoga parliamentary seat to the saffron party.