The Congress on Monday maintained it was not averse to the possibility of joining hands with the JD(S) once again to form a government in Karnataka in case the ruling BJP falls short of majority after the December 5 bypolls, even as there was mixed signals from the regional party on a post by-election tie-up.
The Congress and JD(S), which ran a coalition government for 14 months in the state and contested the Lok Sabha polls in alliance, have parted ways after the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy ministry in July following the rebellion by 17 MLAs, and are contesting the bypolls independently.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa maintained that his party will win all the 15 assembly segments.
The ruling BJP led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa needs to win at least six seats in the bypolls to 15 constituencies to remain in a majority in the 224-member assembly, which would still have two vacant seats-- Maski and R R Nagar.
"Definitely options are open..you see the way in which government formation has happened in Maharashtra," AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal said at Belagavi.
Alleging that there is a "fascist government in the country and there was no value for democracy," he said "to protect democracy there is a wider aspect with which Indian National Congress is looking at things, therefore entire thing is open now."
Another senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily said as BJP is the "common enemy" for both the Congress and JD(S), coming together of both parties was inevitable.
"Until general election comes,there should be a government in the state and some one will have to take the responsibility in the interest of the state as we cannot afford another election. So, there must be a coalition government.
As BJP is our target, enemy's enemy is a friend. So, such an alliance is inevitable," he told reporters at Hunsur.
Sounding upbeat after forming a coalition government in neighbouring Maharashtra, two other senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and G Parameshwara had recently said there was a possibility of the two parties coming together.
However, JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda on Monday said he will work for strengthening his party keeping both the BJP and Congress at a distance, days after hinting at a possible post bypoll alliance in Karnataka with the Sonia Gandhi-led party.
"I have had experience (of running a government) with both.
With BJP I have had the experience of running a government because of my son (Kumaraswamy), and with my approval we had (a government) with Congress also," Gowda said.
Speaking to reporters at Belagavi, he said "Keeping both at a distance, saying 'namasakara' to both of them, I will work beyond my limits to strengthen my party."
This was contrary to his recent statement that Congress president Sonia Gandhi's decision after the bypolls should be watched out for, leading to speculation about the possible coming together of the two parties once again, if the situation arose.
Kumaraswamy too had said there would be a stable government in the state after the bypolls, but not necessarily that of BJP, as he asked mediapersons to wait for the results of the bypolls to 15 assembly constituencies to be declared on December 9.
Kumaraswamy on Monday too maintained that JD(S) will take a decision in the interest of the people of the state after the bypoll results.
Speaking to reporters, he said "it is too early to discuss about it. Let us see how the numbers will stand after the results."
However, Kumaraswamys reportedly meeting senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar at Hubballi led to speculation about the possible tie-up, despite Gowdas mixed signals.
Meanwhile, Yediyurappa maintained that BJP will win all the 15 seats and there will be a stable government for three and half years in the state, without support from any other party.
Stating that BJP is preparing to win 150 seats in the next assembly elections with its performance in the current government, he said at Athani: "Congress is in illusion about political revolution after December 9 (bypolls results).
It will remain an illusion and their dream will not come true."
Gowda had earlier said he wants the BJP government to complete its term as it would give him time to build the regional party.
The JD(S) had also run a coalition government with BJP in 2006 and under a rotational chief ministership arrangement, Kumaraswamy had helmed the state for 20 months, before it collapsed.
Among the 15 segments going to the bypolls,12 were held by Congress and three by JD(S), whose coalition government collapsed due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs.
With winning majority of seats being crucial for the government's survival, the BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies.
As Tuesday is the last date for campaigning, political leaders in the state have intensified electioneering in various constituencies.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)