NEW DELHI: The Congress is preparing for a solo-show in all the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, where it is a part of the ruling coalition with the JD-S and which is supposed to be a test case for the nationwide alliance it plans to build up against the BJP.
Despite winning 80 Assembly seats, the Congress conceded the CM’s chair to the JD-S which had just 37 lawmakers — a move seen as its willingness to accommodate the regional parties in forging Opposition unity.
Officially that remains the exalted position, but on the ground, the Congress has started preparations for the 2019 poll battle on all the 28 Parliamentary seats in the southern state. Besides, there is no trace of seat-sharing talks with the JD-S or a schedule thereof, party sources said.
“At present, we are preparing to fight all the 28 Lok Sabha seats,” a senior Congress leader told The Sunday Standard. “We have started meetings of our district and block level leaders. The senior leaders, including those from the AICC, are monitoring. Parliamentary candidates are being sounded. We are getting ready parliament constituency-wise…We are all working together.”
That, the party insiders said, was a strategic decision, assuming the JD-S too would do its own preparation for the polls.
The Congress stance comes amid reports of both the alliance partners in Karnataka trying hard to remove the sticking points in the ruling coalition even as they claim that the HD Kumaraswamy government will run its full course.
Citing the recently concluded local body polls, the sources said no alliance proved beneficial for both the Congress and the JD-S to counter the BJP. However, taking the local polls as a model may be inappropriate for the national poll strategy.
When asked about the point in preparing ground on all the 28 Parliamentary seats when the Congress might cede some to the JD-S, the party insiders downplayed the issue. “That is a hypothetical question. We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” said a senior state leader.
The party insiders said the tough posturing may well be a ploy to send a message to the ally and strike a hard bargain ahead of the next year’s general elections.