BENGALURU: On Monday, the Congress’ screening committee met in New Delhi to resolve the issue of seat-sharing with coalition partner JD(S) for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Despite a marathon session, the meeting was inconclusive as the talks seemed to have stuck over three seats. The three seats — Tumakuru, Raichur and Mysuru — which JD(S) is insisting on, are said to be the bone of contention between the two. Congress decided to appoint yet another panel to resolve all issues.
The meeting was attended by KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka in-charge KC Venugopal, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and DyCM G Parameshwara. Party sources said that the sitting MPs strongly opposed any move to concede the LS seats, represented by the party, to JD (S). The regional party, however, is playing a card of ‘give-and-take’ to defeat BJP.
While Tumakuru and Raichur are held by Congress, Siddaramaiah is against giving his home district Mysuru to JD (S). JD(S) that had initially demanded Kolar and Chikkaballapur is said to be no longer insisting on those, instead wants these three seats. Sources said that apart from Hassan and Mandya and the three contentious seats, JD(S) is asking for Shivamogga, Bengaluru North, Bijapur and Udupi- Chikkamagaluru.
All issues will be resolved by March 16 at the Congress Election Committee meeting after the Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad, sources said. The meeting also deliberated on names of party candidates to be fielded in each seat. KPCC had sent 2-3 names for each of the 28 seats.
JD(S), Cong, BJP leaders’ ‘chance’ meeting creates buzz in political circles
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 JD(S), 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 Kukaraswamy 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. 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.