Janata Dal (Secular) chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Thursday called on the Congress to treat regional parties well before allying with them ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PTI reported. The Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress run the coalition government in Karnataka.

The former prime minister’s statement follows his proposal for a 2:1 seat sharing agreement between his party and the Congress. Gowda referred to the Congress as the “big brother of secular” parties. “They [Congress] should treat us well before striking an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls later this year,” he told JD(S) workers. “The seat-sharing talks are still on.”

The JD(S) chief also asked his son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to “tolerate the pain he is suffering” while running the government. “I am not going to blame anyone,” Deve Gowda said. “I know how much pain Kumaraswamy is undergoing running the coalition government. He should tolerate this to realise the goal. Whatever the pains, the party has to brush these aside and move forward.”

On December 27, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah refuted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s claim that the coalition government would collapse due to a rift between the Congress and the JD(S). Siddaramaiah said the ruling alliance was strong and the two parties would contest the Lok Sabha elections together this summer.