Karnataka’s ruling Congress-Janata Dal - Secular (JD-S) coalition yesterday reached a seat-sharing agreement under which they will contest 20 and eight Lok Sabha seats respectively.
The JD-S share includes Shimoga, Tumkur, Hasan, Mandya, Bengaluru North, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Vijayapura.
The announcement came hours after JD-S patriarch H D Deve Gowda said: “It is not yet decided as to how many seats will be divided between the JD-S and the Congress. (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi will take a call on the 15th,” NDTV network reported.
The two parties had been haggling over the Mysuru-Kodagu seat, which has gone to the Congress. The southern region of the state is one neither party has a base and a realistic chance of winning.
Hassan and Mandya are considered the JD-S strongholds, although the leaders’ apparent plans to field two grandsons of Devegowda - Prajwal and Nikhil - in these seats has caused some dissatisfaction within the party.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s state chief B S Yeddyurappa told NDTV the party was yet to decide whether Sumalatha, the wife of the late superstar Ambareesh, would be offered ticket for Mandya to take on Nikhil. It would be her decision though, Yeddyurappa said.
Nikhil is the actor son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
Shimoga has been represented by Yeddyurappa, who quit the Lok Sabha last year to enter the assembly.
Bengaluru North is being considered as a possible seat for Deve Gowda, who is likely to give up his Hassan seat for Prajwal, the son of minister H S Revanna.
In 2014, the BJP had walked off with the lion’s share of the seats - 17. The Congress won nine and the JD-S two seats. But to the 43% vote share of the BJP, the combined vote share of the Congress and the JD-S was nearly 52%.
In a dramatic development, the two parties decided to join hands to keep the BJP out of power in the state when votes for last year’s assembly polls were being counted. Later, Kumaraswamy had chosen to turn his oath ceremony into the first big unofficial meet of the opposition.
In other developments, the Congress released its second list of candidates for Lok Sabha elections, fielding its Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar from Moradabad and former union ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde from Solapur and Sriprakash Jaiswal from Kanpur.
The second list of 21 candidates includes five from Maharashtra and 16 from Uttar Pradesh.
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