Revolt in Congress over ceding U-K, Tumkur to JD(S)

Revolt in Congress over ceding U-K, Tumkur to JD(S)

Discontent exploded in the Congress on Thursday, a day after the party finalised sharing of Lok Sabha seats with its alliance partner JD(S). 

The JD(S) will contest from eight seats, leaving the remaining 20 to the Congress. However, the ceding of the Uttara Kannada and Tumkur constituencies has not gone down well with senior party leaders.

Revenue Minister R V Deshpande, who is also the minister in-charge of the Uttara Kannada district, tweeted out his anger over the party conceding Uttara Kannada to the JD(S).

“The decision of giving Lok Sabha seat to JD(S) in Uttara Kannada parliamentary constituency (sic) is not correct as this constituency has a strong base for Congress party. The decision may affect the party’s strength,” Deshpande tweeted. He said senior leaders, including former Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, had requested the Congress high command to reconsider the decision and “to field Congress party’s candidate in Uttara Kannada constituency.”

Congress leaders from Tumkur, too, have raised a banner of revolt. Tumkur is the only Lok Sabha seat out of the 10 currently held by the Congress that has been ceded to the JD(S). This, even as Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah had stated that the party was not ready to cede any of the 10 incumbent seats.

Congress’ Tumkur MP Muddahanumegowda and his supporters held talks with veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Even Kharge is unhappy over Tumkur being conceded to the JD(S), sources said. “Why was Tumkur ceded? To whose benefit? Can the JD(S) win in Tumkur,” Kharge was questioned, apparently. Kharge is learnt to have told his partymen that he would discuss this with the high command.

Former Congress legislator K N Rajanna is said to have threatened to contest as an independent if the Congress failed to renegotiate with the JD(S). The regional party, however, seems happy with the deal. During a meeting with his party leaders, JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda reportedly said that candidates for five seats (other than Mandya, Hassan and Shimoga) should not be announced without consulting the Congress.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has appealed to his party cadre to work in tandem with the Congress. “We will be put to test in these elections. The more seats we win, the more secure the coalition government will be,” he said.

Uncertainty over where Gowda will contest from continued as he is yet to choose between Tumkur and Bangalore North.

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