Congress-JD(S) Coalition seat deal to be tricky

Congress-JD(S) Coalition seat deal to be tricky

Seat talks: (From left) AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, coordination panel chairman Siddaramaiah and JD(S) secretary-general Danish Ali after a meeting in Bengaluru on Thursday. DH Photo/Satish Badiger

Alliance partners Congress and the JD(S) commenced talks on Thursday on sharing seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. But the grand old party is in no mood to cede too much ground, leading to a possible tug-of-war.

Preliminary talks on seat sharing were held in the coalition coordination and monitoring committee meeting held in Bengaluru where it was decided that another meeting involving JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda should be convened in the coming days to finalise the way forward.

Both parties have agreed to enter into a pre-poll alliance as part of a nationwide effort to stitch together a front against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

“We will meet again in 3-4 days with Gowda and distribute constituencies keeping in mind the prevailing situation,” coordination committee chairperson Siddaramaiah told reporters. “Specific numbers have not been discussed. It will be decided at the next meeting.”

Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats and Deve Gowda has already sought 10-12 seats for the regional party, some currently held by the Congress. JD(S) secretary-general Danish Ali, however, said it could take “many rounds of discussions” to have a pre-poll alliance for Lok Sabha seats. “There is no demand (from our side), but it will take some time. Our common motive is that the coalition should win maximum seats and we will field candidates who can win,” he said.

Veteran Congress leader Veerappa Moily, the Chikkaballapur MP, said the party should not cede to the JD(S) any of the nine seats it won in the 2014 elections. “We nine MPs won under trying circumstances when there was a strong Modi wave. So, we should not let go of any of these seats,” Moily told reporters.

Earlier in the day, local Congress cadre from Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Tumkur and Chitradurga told AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal that the incumbents of these seats may find it hard to win this time.