BENGALURU: Even as actress Sumalatha's entry into the political arena in Mandya added a new dimension to Lok Sabha poll battle in the JD(S) bastion, a 'chance' meeting between the JDS, Congress and the BJP leaders created a buzz in the political circles in the state capital.
On Monday, Mandya JD (S) MP LR Shivarame Gowda, Congress leaders N Chaluvarayaswamy and Balakrishna and BJP leaders MLA Dr Ashwatnayaran and CP Yogeshwar met at a hotel in the city.
Though the leaders termed it as a 'chance' meeting, it gave credence to the theory that leaders from the Congress and JD(S) are not happy with the JD(S) decision to field Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's actor son Nikhil Kumaraswamy from Mandya LS seat, and the BJP's plans to exploit the situation for its advantage by extending its support to Sumalatha.
Sumalatha, who has been actively campaigning in the district since last few days, however, has not made her plans public.
She is waiting for the Congress to formally announce its seat-sharing arrangements with the JD(S), before announcing her decision.
Many Congress leaders, including former CM Siddaramaiah, have made it clear that Mandya will be given to JD(S), as the constituency is represented by the JDS MP.
According to sources, the local Congress leaders, who have urged their party leaders to retain the constituency and field Sumalatha as the party candidate, are concerned over supporting the JD(S) candidate as that would completely erode the party's base.
In 2018 assembly elections, the Congress had lost all seven assembly segments in the district to the JD(S).
Since the party may find it difficult to get Mandya in the seat-sharing arrangement, the local leaders would still like to retain their own hold by extending support to an independent candidate.
Stating that there was nothing political about Monday meeting, Shivarame Gowda said they had all come here for lunch and met by chance.
"I am a member of Deve Gowda family and there is no change in the decision on Nikhil contesting from Mandya. We have faced several election and we are confident of Nikhil's victory," the JDS leader said. He refused to comment on Sumalatha's candidature.
Congress leader Chaluvarayaswamy said minister DK Shivakumar had called a meeting of the party leaders at his residence on Sunday, but nothing has been finalised. The minister had assured them of discussing all issues again, he said.