BENGALURU: Coalition partners Congress and JD(S) have already decided to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha elections unitedly but discussions for seat sharing are yet to begin. While the JD(S) is eyeing at least 9 to 10 seats, the Congress, party sources reveal, is willing to give up a maximum of six seats out of 28.
While JD(S) wants a lion’s share of seats from Old Mysuru region, the Congress, especially former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is keen on retaining the Mysuru-Kodagu seat currently represented by BJP MP Pratap Simha.
Congress is in the process of identifying seats that can be shared with JD(S) without compromising the party’s prospects in the region. “We have sitting MPs in Chamarajnagar, Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Kolar, and Chikkballapur. It will be difficult to deny tickets to our candidates and offer these seats to JD(S),” a Congress legislator from the region said. That leaves the Congress with other prominent seats like Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru, one in Bengaluru and the probability of a seat in North Karnataka to be offered to the JD(S). Coastal Karnataka is a clear no.
Hassan and Mandya are the first choices of JD(S), considering the party’s influence in both constituencies. While H D Devegowda represents Hassan, Mandya, until recently, was represented by C S Puttaraju. After Puttaraju’s resignation — the JD(S) has just one MP from Karnataka in the Lok Sabha. At no cost will the party let go of both seats. While the JD(S) is also looking at Mysuru-Kodagu seat, Congress is keen on retaining it, thanks to a commitment made by Siddaramaiah.
“C H Vijayashankar has been assured a ticket from Mysuru by Siddaramaiah. He left the BJP and joined us on that condition. He is a former MP and a winnable candidate in the region. We have a strong candidate and wouldn’t want to give Mysuru to JD(S),” the legislator added. While Congress believes that a maximum of six seats to JD(S) is the best case scenario workable for both parties, JD(S) is mum about its expectations. Both parties claim that the discussion for seat sharing is yet to begin but the process of evaluating seats that each party wants is underway. While Congress is sure that JD(S) will have its eyes set on Old Mysuru region, the party is unsure if it will seek a seat in North Karnataka to break free from its image of a South-only party.