Cong, JD(S) seal poll pact in K’taka with 20-8 seat formula

New Delhi, Mar 13 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/13/2019 11:46:04 AM IST

Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) on Wednesday sealed its poll pact with the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, settling for 8 of the state’s 28 parliamentary seats rather than the 10 that it had aspired for.

The Congress did cede Tumkur, which it had won last time, to its alliance partner but refused to give up other seats that it had won in the 2014 elections. It has also convinced the JD (S) not to insist on the Mysuru seat, the home district of former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Mysuru seat is at the heart of the Vokkaliga dominated region where the JD(S) has a strong base.

Negotiations had been going on for the past two months as the partners could not arrive at a consensus on key seats, including in southern Karnataka. The JD(S) had initially demanded 12 seats, among these were four seats that the Congress had won in 2014. As per the pact, the JD(S) will contest the Bijapur, Uttara Kannada, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Shimoga, Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru North and Tumkur seats. The Congress has had to give up its claim on the Tumkur, which was one of nine seats it won in 2014. However, it managed to hold on to its other seats despite pressure from the JD(S).

“@INCIndia @JanataDal_S seat sharing for Karnataka #LokSabhaPolls2019 is confirmed. 20 for Congress and 8 for JDS,” Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said in a tweet.

The Congress-JD(S) alliance is in power in Karnataka but they share an uneasy, and often tumultuous, relationship. Last week, Deve Gowda had met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to discuss sharing of seats. After the meeting, the former PM claimed that he managed to get 10 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka. The seat distribution has been contentious particularly in the state’s southern Old Mysuru region, where the two parties have been direct rivals.

Local leaders of both the Congress and the JD(S) had expressed anxiety over the delay in announcing the pact as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party began its campaign a month ago.

Both parties have set out to reverse the trend of BJP dominance in the state in Lok Sabha polls going back to 2004. In 2014, it won 17 seats in the state, down from 19 in 2009.

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