The JD (S) will concentrate on 15 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state where the party has a strong base.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses. So, we are working hard in 15 seats of the total 28 seats,’’ said former chief minister and senior JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the JD(S) had won three Lok Sabha seats - Hassan, Mandya and Ramanagaram. But it lost Mandya and Bangalore Rural (erstwhile Ramanagaram LS constituency) in the byelections held in 2013 following the resignation of sitting MPs N Cheluvarayaswamy and H D Kumaraswamy who got elected to the Assembly. Now, the JD(S) has only the Hassan LS seat represented by its national president H D Deve Gowda.
Kumaraswamy said there was no pro-Modi wave in Karnataka and dismissed talk of such wave as an euphoria created by the saffron party to woo voters. “The electorate is fully aware of the mess the BJP government had created in the state between 2008 and 2013. If the BJP is so confident of victory then why is it taking time to release its list of candidates?” he asked. The BJP is not going to retain the 19 seats which it had won in 2009 polls, he said.
Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) is concentrating mainly on south Karnataka districts like Chamarajanagar, Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Central, Bangalore North, Chitradurga, Davangere and Tumkur where Vokkaliga voters play an important role. Besides, they are making efforts to win over the voters of north Karnataka districts like Bijapur, Bagalkot, Uttara Kannada and Gulbarga. The JD(S) may win some of these seats. Two to three JD(S) legislators, including Sa Ra Mahesh and Manappa Vajjal, have shown interest in contesting the polls. “I am confident that Vokkaligas and BCs will support the JD(S),” he said.
The JD(S) leader said each MLA will be in charge of two to three LS constituencies where they should accompany candidates during the election campaign. As many as 40 JD(S) MLAs and 12 MLCs would be divided among 28 LS constituencies. Although the JD(S) would field its candidates in all the 28 constituencies, they would be concentrating only on around 15 constituencies. Tickets would be finalised during the first week of March, and the election campaign would begin after a rally of Third Front leaders in Bangalore.