Sharad Yadav seeks eight seats for his party from Rahul Gandhi

Sharad Yadav seeks eight seats for his party from Rahul Gandhi

Even as Opposition unity plans are underway, Sharad Yadav faction of the JD(U) has put a demand for eight seats from the ruling Congress in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls.

Sources say Yadav broached the issue with Congress president Rahul Gandhi a few days ago and apprised him of the demand while flagging the need for a joint Opposition fight against the BJP. "We are expecting a favourable response from Rahul soon," said a leader close to Yadav.

Since Election Commission (EC) has already ruled in favour of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's claim over the JD(U)'s name and symbol, Yadav faction will fight the elections in Karnataka under the banner of Lok Awaz Dal (LAD), which has been allocated the symbol of "blackboard" for contesting Karnataka polls. The LAD was founded by former JD(U) MLC Shambhu Sharan Srivastava in Patna in 2012.

Arun Kumar Srivastava from Yadav camp, who approached the EC on March 12 for election symbol for LAD in Karnataka told DH, "The EC has allotted us the symbol of ''blackboard". We will definitely fight the election in Karnataka. Our attempt is to strengthen the secular forces. We are seeking seats only in regions where we have good presence."

Karnataka unit of Yadav faction of JD(U) has submitted the list of eight seats to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Sources say that the party is particularly keen on the seats like Chitradurga and Kolar and one more seat in Vijayapura district. It would happily settle if the Congress agrees to give it three seats.

Former MLC Dr M P Nadagouda leads the Yadav's party in Karnataka. "We had contested even the Gujarat polls under the banner of Bharatiya Tribal Party led by lone erswhile JD(U) MLA in the state Chhotubhai Vasava and won two of the five seats. Our leaders in Gujarat and Karnataka are old socialists, who can individually pull out victories. Party name or symbol won't matter," a senior leader said.

Though there has been no indication so far of the Congress being inclined to accept the demand, Yadav camp is hopeful that the latter's extensive campaign for the Congress candidates in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will be taken into account. Yadav was on a two-day tour of Karnataka last week.

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