Gowda, Rahul to seal seat deal by March 10

Gowda, Rahul to seal seat deal by March 10

A deal will be finalised by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda by March 10.

The Congress-JD(S) Coalition Coordination and Monitoring Committee on Monday could not arrive at a consensus on sharing of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Now, a deal will be finalised by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda. It is expected to be finalised by March 10.

The JD(S) has expressed willingness to contest from 12 seats, a request the Congress is in no mood to oblige. While the Congress is under pressure from its MPs not to cede any of the 10 seats they currently represent, the party also is mindful of the ‘ability to win’ factor.

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The JD(S) wants to contest Mandya, Hassan, Bangalore North, Mysore, Chikkaballapur, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Raichur, Bidar, Bijapur, Uttara Kannada and Shimoga. According to sources, the Congress has offered the regional party Mandya, Hassan, Shimoga, Bangalore North, Uttara Kannada, Udupi-Chikmagalur and either Belgaum or Chikkodi. “The JD(S) has asked for 12 seats. We’ve discussed this in detail, but haven’t given it a final shape. We hope to do so in the coming days, before March 10,” Coordination Committee chairperson Siddaramaiah said after a two-hour meeting.

“We’re moving in the right direction. We discussed not only the 12 constituencies the JD(S) has asked for, but also every other constituency,” he said.

Siddaramaiah said the seat-sharing will be finalised at the state level, but this was contradicted by JD(S) secretary-general Danish Ali. “We will have informal rounds of meetings before Congress president Rahul Gandhi and our national president H D Deve Gowda finalise the seat-sharing,” Ali said.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition wants to win 20 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Siddaramaiah said. Asked about both parties having aspirants wanting to contest the upcoming polls and the JD(S) having announced Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil as the Mandya candidate, Siddaramaiah said: “Both parties have aspirants for every seat. Can we say no to someone who wants to contest?