Cong edgy, but can’t afford to anger JD(S)

Cong edgy, but can’t afford to anger JD(S)

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal.

The Congress, which is faced with an assertive JD(S) that is demanding about a dozen seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, is figuring out ways to arrive at an amicable deal with the regional party.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal held a late night meeting with state leaders Siddaramaiah, G Parameshwara, D K Shivakumar and Dinesh Gundu Rao. The meet started around 11 pm on Thursday and ended at around 2 am. The leaders are said to have discussed seats that the Congress should retain as well as those the JD(S) has eyed, including those, where the Congress MPs are incumbents.

Venugopal has advised the state unit not to antagonize the JD(S) since the party’s high command is determined to fight the polls in alliance with the regional party. It is said that the state leaders told Venugopal that ceding too much ground to the JD(S) will not be in the party’s interest in the long run.

The JD(S) is on strong ground only in the Mandya and Hassan seats, Venugopal is said to have been told. Even Shimoga can be ceded to the JD(S) if the Congress does not find a strong candidate there, it was discussed. Besides these three seats and another 2-3 more, the leaders discussed that it will not be in the party’s interest to cede more.

The candidature of Sumalatha, wife of actor-turned-politician the late Ambareesh, from the Mandya seat, also figured in Venugopal’s discussion.

The party feels it will be difficult to give her the ticket because of the alliance with the JD(S).

Speaking to reporters, Rao said: “We have discussed sharing of seats. Soon, we will hold talks with JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda. We will settle it without any problem. There is no confusion.” He also asked Congress and JD(S) leaders not to discuss sharing of seats publicly.