Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday said the Congress should not treat his party – Janata Dal (Secular) – like “third grade citizens” and that the coalition partners adopt a “give and take policy” to put up a united fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported.

When asked if the Janata Dal (Secular) would contest the Lok Sabha elections alone if seat-sharing talks fail, Kumaraswamy said the Congress and his party should contest together. “Because the reason behind forming this government [in Karnataka] is to stop the BJP from coming to power and improve the atmosphere in the country...” Kumaraswamy told PTI.

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are expected to hold seat-sharing talks later this month.

“They [Congress] should treat us respectfully. They should not treat us as third grade citizens. There should be give and take policy,” Kumaraswamy said. He said the coalition government was formed with the policy of two-third for Congress and one-third for Janata Dal (Secular) in terms of ministerial posts, board and corporation appointments.

“There are 28 seats...they [Congress] should take two-thirds and give us one-third, this is what his feeling is, and mostly, I feel they will also agree,” he said. He also dismissed charges that the coalition will only last till the parliament elections are held.

Kumaraswamy claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma was fading as anti-incumbency grows, and pitched for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for the post. He, however, admitted a lack of consensus among anti-BJP parties in choosing Gandhi for the role of prime minister.

Kumaraswamy said party supremo HD Deve Gowda had announced support for Gandhi and added that “others will also come on board”. “I feel after the results, everyone will agree on a common leadership despite differences,” he said.

When asked about possible cracks in the anti-Modi front, Kumaraswamy said a “strong combination” may emerge against the BJP. “I also feel that the mahagatbandhan [grand alliance] may emerge as an alternative to national parties.”

The chief minister also called the Centre’s move to provide 10% reservation to economically backward sections in the general category “desperate”.