THE JD(S), which got eight of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka under a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress, has decided to return one of the seats — Bangalore North — to its ally.
The JD(S) was struggling to find a strong candidate, after former Prime Minister and party president H D Deve Gowda, who was tipped to contest against Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda from this seat, opted for the relatively safer Tumkur constituency in South Karnataka. Deve Gowda had suggested the option of fielding a Congress leader as the JD(S) candidate, but Congress leaders, including State Minister Krishna Byregowda, turned down the offer. Follow more election news here.
“The Indian National Congress is thankful to Shri H D Deve Gowda and the JD(S) for their kind gesture of giving back the Bangalore North Lok Sabha seat to the Congress. Together let us reclaim democracy,’’ AICC general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal said in a statement.
The Congress has fielded Krishna Byregowda, who is one of its five MLAs from the eight assembly segments in Bangalore North. The Lok Sabha constituency has a sizable population of Vokkaligas, backward castes and minorities, putting the Congress-JD(S) alliance in a strong position.
The JD(S) has so far adopted Congress leader Pramod Madhawaraj as its candidate, and is fielding the former minister from Udupi-Chikamagalur in coastal Karnataka. The party may adopt a second candidate for the second phase.
Meanwhile, Deve Gowda filed his nomination from Tumkur on Monday, even as sitting Congress MP Mudda Hanumegowda also filed his nomination as a rebel candidate. A few other local Congress leaders have also threatened to take on Gowda in the polls.
However, Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader G Parameshwara, who hails from Tumkur region, asserted that all the rebels would be convinced to support Deve Gowda’s candidature.
Gowda’s grandson and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, also filed his nomination from Mandya, where he will be up against actress Sumalatha, widow of actor and former MP M H Ambareesh. Sumalatha is contesting as an Independent, with the official support of the BJP and the unofficial support of Congress rebels in the constituency.
The Congress has announced the candidature of Rajya Sabha member B K Hariprasad from Bangalore South. The BJP is yet to announce its candidate for the seat — Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, widow of former Union minister H N Ananth Kumar who died recently, is among the aspirants. Amid speculation that the BJP may field Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the seat, state party president B S Yeddyurappa and other local leaders have denied any such proposal. They have, however, indicated that a “high profile’’ candidate may be fielded from the party stronghold.
Tejaswini Ananth Kumar has said that she will abide by the “decision of the central leadership’’.