In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s party is trying to ‘adopt’ Congress leaders in three Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka and field them as JD(S) candidates.
After months of tough bargaining with the Congress over sharing of seats, the JD(S) secured eight of the 28 seats. Lack of candidates or organizational base in Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Uttara Kannada and Bengaluru North have pushed the party to embark on a new experiment. Incidentally, three from the JD(S) first family, including Gowda, will contest the elections.
Karnataka: Congress-JD(S) leaders close ranks, put on a show of strength. The JD(S) patriarch has had several rounds of talks with AICC general secretary KC Venugopal and KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao and zeroed in on three names – Pramod Madhwaraj (for Udupi-Chikkamagaluru), BL Shankar (Bengaluru North) and Prashanth Deshpande or Nivedith Alva (Uttara Kannada).
The Congress is believed to have agreed to the plan. According to a KPCC office-bearer, the party had pleaded with Gowda to return the three seats to the Congress, but in vain. “By demanding eight seats, Gowda has realized he has swallowed more than he can chew,” the office-bearer said. Gowda has given Pramod ‘B’ form – which allows a person to contest using the party’s symbol – and the former minister is expected to file his nomination as a JD(S) candidate in a couple of days. “I’m contesting as a Congress-JD(S) candidate on a JD(S) ticket,” Pramod told TOI.
The arrangement is not new, say JD(S), leaders
“I’m contesting as a Congress-JD (S) candidate on a JD(S) ticket,” Pramod told TOI.
Shankar, too, confirmed his name was under consideration. “It depends on which seat Gowda contests from,” he stated. “If he chooses Tumakuru, then I may be a JD(S) candidate from Bengaluru North. But the party has to decide on my candidature.”
Sources said the JD(S) wanted to field retired Justice V Gopala Gowda from Bengaluru North, but he did not evince interest. Rural development minister Krishna Byregowda’s name is doing the rounds for the constituency. Deve Gowda met Byregowda on Thursday and urged him to be the JD(S) candidate. “A situation may arise where I could contest from Bengaluru North,” Byregowda said after the meeting. “As of now, all five Congress MLAs of the constituency have urged Gowda to contest.”
Uttara Kannada appears to be a sticky seat. Revenue minister RV Deshpande is unwilling to field his son Prashanth as a JD(S) candidate. “The JD(S) has not yet approached me or my son,” Deshpande stated. “If they do make an offer, we won’t contest on a JD(S) ticket.”