Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Saturday reiterated that the alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka was a “mistake”, PTI reported. Moily claimed the Congress would have won 15 to 16 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections had they contested independently.

Moily lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s BN Bache Gowda by a margin of 1.82 lakh votes from the Chikkaballapur seat in Karnataka. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) won only two seats between them in the elections, while the BJP emerged victorious in 25 out of 28 constituencies.

“Hundred per cent...not only here [Chikkaballapur]... in various constituencies...if there was no alliance, 15-16 seats Congress would have definitely got,” he told the news agency.

“It was a mistake trusting the alliance. Our own people were against the alliance,” he added, according to the Deccan Herald. “Going to them [Janata Dal (Secular)], talking to them was a waste of time. If I had utilized that time to concentrate on voters, I would have got far more votes.”

This is the second time Moily has publicly expressed regret at the party’s decision to fight the elections with the Janata Dal (Secular). A few days after the election results were announced, Moily had admitted that Janata Dal (Secular) workers did not support Congress candidates in the campaign, leading to their loss.

Moily said that one of the reasons for their defeat was because the government in Karnataka did not address the problems of people. “A serious effort is needed on administration and addressing problems faced by people,” he told reporters in Chikkaballapur. “Where the government faltered and why we lost should’ve been discussed. But I don’t see any introspection that happened.”

The veteran Congress leader also mocked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s “village stay” programme. “Simply sitting after becoming a chief minister or minister does not work,” he said, according to ANI. “It is important to concentrate on schemes and their implementation. Chief ministers or ministers roaming villages does not work.”

As part of his “Grama Vaastavya” programme, Kumaraswamy had on Friday spent the night at the Government Higher Primary School in Chandraki village along with other ministers. He was seen sleeping on the floor in photos.

The two parties formed a coalition in May 2018, but the relationship has been rocky since the beginning. Rumours of its imminent collapse have been doing the rounds for a while. On Friday, Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Devegowda had criticised Congress for blaming Janata Dal (Secular) over the poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections. There has been added tension with the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance with war of words between the two parties and the threat of defections. Kumaraswamy has also been seen making emotional remarks about his difficulties of running the government smoothly a number of times.