BENGALURU: The Congress and JD(S) are yet to begin negotiations on seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections but it is the BJP that is more keen on the process.
JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda’s pick of constituency from where he will contest will determine how the saffron party performs in the neighbouring districts, suggest senior leaders of the BJP.
While JD(S) leaders insist that Deve Gowda should contest from Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency — that is currently represented by Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda — the BJP is hoping that the former prime minister does not consider the advice.
Gowda retaining Hassan will not make a difference to the BJP’s gameplan, but a shift to Bengaluru North will impact at least three other constituencies — Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Tumakuru.
BJP MPs believe that Deve Gowda’s candidature in Bengaluru North will not just cost the saffron party an incumbent seat but also dent its prospects in the neighbouring districts.
“Apart from enthusing party workers in all potentially winnable seats in the neighbourhood, Gowda’s candidature in Bengaluru North will tilt caste equations in favour of the Congress-JD(S) alliance. Apart from the Vokkaliga community’s support, the goodwill he enjoys from people of varied backgrounds will see a ripple effect,” noted a BJP MP who did not wish to be named.
The MP acknowledged that with Gowda in the contest, Bengaluru North will be unwinnable, irrespective of who the party’s candidate is.
Of the seven assembly seats in Bengaluru North, Congress has four, BJP two and JD(S) one seat. Despite having more MLAs from the seat, the Congress is willing to let JD(S) contest, given the constituency’s Vokkaliga and minority population.
“Deve Gowda will not just consolidate community and minority votes, he will also quell any dissent that exists. Giving Gowda an easily winnable seat will work as a ‘feel good’ factor for the JD(S) cadres too,” observed a senior Congress MLA from Bengaluru.
Many JD(S) leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP D Kupendra Reddy, have insisted that Gowda contest from Bengaluru.
“We are currently at number three in Bengaluru. In the run-up to the BBMP polls next year, our president’s candidature in Bengaluru North will strengthen the party and help us gain on the number of seats,” said T A Sharavana, JD(S) MLC.
With Gowda’s candidature from Bengaluru North, JD(S) hopes to gain a strong foothold.
BJP believes that Gowda’s candidature in Bengaluru North will disrupt its gameplan and dent its performance in Chikkaballapur - where it has a strong winnable candidate, Kolar - where it intends to make anti-incumbency against K H Muniyappa work in its advantage and in Tumakuru - where it hopes to field a Lingayat to vest the seat away from Congress.
While Deve Gowda is yet to make an official announcement of the seat of his choice, he is likely to give up his safe seat Hassan for the political debut of his grandson Prajwal Reva nna.