Bengaluru (PTI): Karnataka Congress leaders on Friday questioned the secular credentials of the Janata Dal (Secular), which has entered into an alliance with the BJP, and said that the coming together of the two parties will not have any impact on its own prospects in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Stating that former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) now stands exposed, Minister Priyank Kharge even mocked the collaboration saying that the BJP was the "B-team" of the JD(S) in the newly formed alliance.

After days of talk about a tie-up between the BJP and the JD(S), the decision was finalised today following a meeting of the leader of the regional party and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J P Nadda.

"There is nothing surprising. If you saw, BJP was moving lethargically after losing the election in Karnataka. It was very evident that the BJP's central leadership lost their complete confidence in the state leadership. That is why they did not even name the opposition leader in the upper house nor in the lower house," Kharge said, reacting to the BJP-JD(S) alliance.

Speaking to reporters here, he said that it is now "very evident that JD(S) is the primary partner and BJP has become the B-team" for the regional party.

"More importantly, JD(S) should write to the Election Commission and just drop the word 'Secular' from the party's name, because at one point of time, you claim to be secular and at the same time you are going ahead and joining hands with the most communal party in the history of independent India," he added.

Noting that irrespective of how much bonhomie and brotherhood the BJP and JD(S) project, it will not make any dent in the Congress's fortunes in Karnataka, Kharge said, adding that the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka are going to be won by the Congress party.

"JD(S) has been exposed today, they had been claiming that they are secular and fooling a lot of people earlier. If you turn the pages of history and see, it was because of the JD(S) that BJP came to power in Karnataka. And again they are making the same mistake," he added.

Home Minister G Parameshwara said the BJP-JD(S) alliance will not affect the Congress in any way, and expressed confidence that his party would win more than 20 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

"We will retain the vote share (42.88 per cent) that we got during the assembly polls in the Lok Sabha polls too. We don't have any feeling that their alliance will cause any hindrance for us. JD(S) had allied with Congress too, but ultimately what were the results? People of the state know," he said.

Pointing out that the JD(S) played politics all these years with its secular credentials, Parameshwara said today that the party leaders must explain what secularism is.

The BJP had swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, winning 25 seats, while an independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya) backed by it won one seat. The Congress and JD(S) won one seat each.

In the 2019 LS elections, the BJP had won as many as 25 seats, while an independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya) backed by it won one seat. The Congress and JD(S) managed to get just one seat each.

However, in the elections to the 224-member state assembly held in May this year, the Congress bagged 135 seats, while the BJP secured just 66 and the JD(S) 19.

JD(S) had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Congress; at the time, both parties were running a coalition government under the Chief Ministership of Kumaraswamy.

JD(S) has earlier formed governments in coalition with both the BJP and Congress separately -- for 20 months from January 2006, and for 14 months from May 2018, respectively, with Kumaraswamy as chief minister.

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New Delhi, Dec 11: The Centre on Monday defended the change in the National Medical Commission's logo to feature Dhanwantari -- the physicians of the Gods in Hindu mythology -- instead of a secular emblem, saying it was part of India's heritage and everyone must feel proud of it.

When the TMC's Santanu Sen raised the issue of the change in the logo through a Zero Hour mention in the Rajya Sabha, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said Dhanwantari is a symbol of Indian medical science.

"(It was) already a part of the (Commission's) logo and just some colour has been added and nothing more," he said.

"This is India's heritage. I feel we should feel proud (about it)," he added.

The minister said the logo is designed by taking inspiration from the country's heritage.

"This is a symbol of medical science ... someone who had done so much research in medical science. We have used the photo with no other intention."

The Medical Council of India (MCI) logo was adopted in 1934 after the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, was enacted.

The law defined medicine as "modern scientific medicine and includes surgery and obstetrics" and the logo used was based on the international symbol for medicine -- the staff of Aesclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.

The logo also featured a snake wound around the staff.

While there has been no official announcement of a change in the Commission's logo, a black and white logo with the depiction of Dhanwantari at the centre reportedly appeared in December 2022. The colourised version appeared a couple of months later.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, Sen demanded the restoration of the National Medical Commission's previous logo.

He said the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 was repealed in 2020 despite objections from different corners of society and the medical fraternity.

"The National Medical Commission came into force from 25th September 2020, repealing the 64-year-old Indian Medical Council Act, 1956," he added.

Earlier it was termed as "western medicine", then it became "medicine" and finally it was termed as "modern medicine", Sen said and added that the logo of modern medicine is the staff of Aesclepius.

"And there was no need and there was no permissible condition, so far as the National Medical Commission is concerned, that this logo can be changed. But, unfortunately, we have seen in the recent past, I don't know (if it is) because of government instruction or by the National Medical Commission itself, they have changed the logo and they have brought a photograph of Dhanwantari in the logo," Sen said.

The "change of logo was absolutely not needed. It symbolises one particular religion," he added.

The National Medical Commission, he said, regulates medical curriculum and sanctions new medical colleges.

"Its function is not to promote any particular religion. Even the Ayush department did not change its logo but the National Medical Commission has," the TMC MP said.

"It is against the basic oath which doctors take after passing MBBS. They take the oath that we will treat each and every patient irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. We are not bound to treat one particular religion," he said.

The change of logo, he said, was against the basic essence of the Indian Constitution which, through Article 25 and 26 after the 42nd Amendment in 1976, states that India is a secular country.

"And we should promote the dovetailing of religion," Sen said and demanded that the National Medical Commission immediately restore the previous logo that did not symbolise any particular religion.