Seat sharing: Cong to ask JD(S) to take BJP seats

Seat sharing: Cong to ask JD(S) to take BJP seats

The Congress came under immense pressure from its leaders on Monday to finalise the sharing of seats with the JD(S) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections “as soon as possible”.

Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats, of which the BJP currently holds 16, Congress 10 and the JD(S) two.

The Congress is under pressure from the 10 incumbents not to cede their seats to the regional party. The incumbents argue that they won in 2014 despite a strong Modi wave. Also, the party is willing to giving away Mandya and Hassan to the JD(S), despite opposition to this from the Congress’ local cadre in these districts. So, discussions on sharing seats could be confined to those 16 constituencies held by the BJP, a senior Congress leader said.

All senior party leaders held a series of meetings throughout the day, the longest one being that of its coordination committee headed by former minister Ramalinga Reddy. “Everybody said the seat-sharing with JD(S) should be finalised soon and candidates should be announced,”  KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters. “That’s because the Lok Sabha constituencies are big, so we’ll need time to prepare.”

According to sources, the four AICC secretaries for Karnataka - Manickam Tagore, P C Vishnunadh, Madhu Goud Yaskhi and Sake Sailajanath - have already drawn up a preliminary list of candidates. However, finalisation of tickets will depend on the seat-sharing agreement between the alliance partners.

Rao said he would reach out to JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and his son, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, to fix a date on which both parties can finalise sharing of seats.

‘No support’

The Congress will not extend support to actors Sumalatha Ambareesh and Prakash Raj if they choose to contest independently, a senior party functionary said.

Sumalatha, wife of late actor and Congress leader Ambareesh is under pressure to contest from Mandya, which is a JD(S) stronghold.

Prakash Raj has announced his candidature from Bangalore Central, where there are many ticket aspirants within the Congress.

Raj has sought Congress’ support, which means the party should not field a candidate against him.