Sumalatha sticks to Mandya; JD(S) announces Nikhil

Nikhil Kumaraswamy

With the Lok Sabha elections nearing, it’s bargaining time for the coalition partners, who’ve not only set aside their stormy past, but also successfully foiled the BJP’s attempts to topple the government.

The five-member Congress-JD(S) coordination committee, headed by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, which will be meeting on Monday, is likely to arrive at a decision on the seats to be distributed.

The talks, however, could run into rough waters, given that both parties are vying for certain constituencies in the old Mysore region, with neither likely to budge easily.

Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats, the JD(S), which presently holds two seats (Mandya and Hassan), has claimed 12 seats. The party is looking at contesting from Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Bangalore North, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Bidar, Raichur and Bijapur Lok Sabha seats.

Contentious seats

While the Congress has agreed to back off from Mandya and Hassan, it is yet to announce its decision to the JD(S) on other contentious seats like Bangalore North, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Chitradurga.

Though Bangalore North is represented by Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda (BJP), the other four constituencies are held by the Congress.

While senior Congress leaders K H Muniyappa and M Veerappa Moily are sitting MPs from Kolar and Chikkaballapur, respectively, Tumkur is held by S P Muddahanumegowda and Chitradurga by B N Chandrappa.

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda is keen on contesting from Bangalore North. He has decided to forsake Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna. The party however is yet to announce Prajwal as the official candidate.

Sumalatha adamant

Though the Congress has announced that the JD(S) will contest from Mandya, Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late actor-politician M H Ambareesh, has thrown spanner in the works by insisting that she will contest from the constituency.

The Congress is trying to get her to contest from some other constituency like Bangalore South. But Sumalatha is in no mood to give up. This resulted in the JD(S) declaring that Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, will be the official candidate from Mandya.

Last week, JD(S) announced that former MLA Madhu Bangrappa will be contesting from Shimoga.

This is the third round of talks between both parties, after the Congress sitting MPs urged the party not to cede constituencies represented by them.

The JD(S) is likely to settle for six to eight seats, provided that the Congress is agreeable to part with two or more seats, in addition to Mandya and Hassan, in the old Mysore region.

Gowda himself said as much while speaking to reporters in Mangaluru on Sunday. “The JD(S) has sought 12 seats from Congress. But I am not strongly insisting on it. I feel the Congress too should have the same attitude,” he said.

He said that the primary objective of the Congress-JD(S) pact was to decimate BJP. “The coordination committee will meet in Bengaluru on Monday, after which seat-sharing will be finalised at a high-level meeting in Delhi,” added Gowda.

It is said that the Congress leaders might hold preliminary talks with Gowda before the meeting.

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Sumalatha sticks to Mandya; JD(S) announces Nikhil

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