BENGALURU: The sensitive issue of seat sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections has yet again threatened to sear the state’s fragile coalition fabric with an angry Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday angrily saying, “We (JD-S) are not beggars to take three, five or seven seats.’’
The heartburn seems to be that the Congress is giving the JD(S) too little.
Kumaraswamy’s outburst exposes the uneasiness between the two coalition partners. The CM was responding to reporters in Mysuru on Tuesday when asked about the Congress planning to offer his party seven out of 28 Lok Sabha seats.
Reacting to Kumaraswamy’s remarks, coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah dryly responded, “No one needs to beg from anyone. This is a coalition government and neither JD(S) nor the Congress is a beggar.’’
He also pointed out that there was a consensus in Congress during meetings that they should not give up the 10 seats that they have won in hard-fought contests.
Siddaramaiah said there have been a series of meetings of Congress leaders on Monday and Tuesday regarding the Lok Sabha polls, and maintained that they have not finalised the seats. He said everything is still open to discussion.
The sharing of seats for the Lok Sabha polls has been contentious with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda suggesting 12 seats for his party about four weeks ago and later scaling down that number to ten seats.
The strategy that the coalition partners are working on is to jointly put up candidates to avoid splitting of votes between the partners. In the past elections, Congress and JD(S) put up candidates against each other and, on many occasions, they feared that a split of the ‘secular’ vote will help the BJP.
The current Lok Sabha strength of the JD(S) is two while Congress has 10 seats. The BJP has 16 seats.