JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda Monday said seat sharing with coalition partner Congress in Karnataka was likely to be finalised by March 13 or 14. Amid confusion about the seat he would be contesting from, the former Prime Minister clarified that he has not yet reached any final decision on it. “Today mostly some Congress leaders may have gone to Delhi. Tomorrow after discussing with them on the seat sharing issue, a discussion will be held with me also and a final decision may be arrived at,” Gowda said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said “…in one or two days- by March 13 or 14 on the seat sharing issue, we will reach a final stage.” A meeting on seat sharing between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Gowda at Delhi last week was inconclusive.
However, scaling down his party’s demand, Gowda had asked Congress to allot at least 10 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats to his party. JD(S) had earlier demanded that it be given 12 seats. According to sources, the Congress may concede a maximum of eight seats to the JD(S), but the constituencies are yet to be finalized.
The Congress held its screening committee meeting under the leadership of party General Secretary K C Venugopal in Delhi on Monday to discuss about seats and candidates. The Election Committee of the Karnataka Congress that met on Thursday had finalised a panel of names for 15 of the 28 LokSabha seats. While it is clear that Hassan and Mandya, where JD(S)has sitting MPs, will go to it, along with Shimoga, where Gowda has already declared that former MLA Madhu Bangarappa will be the candidate, both parties need to finalise on the rest of the seats that will go to the regional party, sources said.
Meanwhile, Gowda, who held meetings with JD(S) leaders along with party state chief H Vishwanath, said candidates would be decided after discussions with party leaders, once Rahul Gandhi conveys his decision about seats. “Mandya and Hassan matter is known to you, no need to talk about it further.
Other constituencies we will discuss,” he added. Gowda has already indicated that his grandsons Nikhil Kumaraswamy and Prajwal Revanna will be the JD(S) candidates from the party bastion of Mandya and his home turf of Hassan, respectively. While Nikhil is the son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy,Prajwal is the son of Gowda’s elder son and PWD Minister, H D Revanna. Sharing of seats from old Mysuru region is expected to be an acid test for both the parties, as JD(S) considers it as its bastion, and Congress has its sitting members from most of the seats there.
There is pressure from within the Congress not to cede too many seats to the JD(S), especially the 10 where the party has sitting MPs. To a question on the constituency he would contest from, the JD(S) patriarch said he has not decided on it yet. “…there are reports that I will be contesting from Mysore, Tumkur and Bangalore North. But I have not decided yet, we are discussing…,” he added.