Numbers not an issue, says HD Kumaraswamy

New Delhi, Mar 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/8/2019 12:37:46 PM IST

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy today confirmed that the focus of the alliance is to “win the maximum number of seats” and his party was willing to work to this end. “The number of seats that we will contest is not an issue,” the Chief Minister said in what is seen as an indication of a further climbdown. 

Party sources said Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular is likely to settle for eight seats - way lower than 12 it wanted and one less than the nine his father HD Deve Gowda had decided on during his talks with Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday.

After the meeting, Deve Gowda had told NDTV that  Gandhi was concerned about winnability, and depending on it, the party was likely to get nine or 10 of the state’s 28 seats. The rest was to go to Congress, which initially wanted to give JDS only six seats.

For Karnataka, it is the choice of seats and not numbers which are a problem, a senior party leader had told NDTV. Both JDS and the Congress have been eyeing seats like Mysore, Tumkur and Chitradurga. Deciding which party would contest from these seats is expected to be the biggest hurdle.

With fewer numbers, the JDS is expected to get the seats it wants, sources indicated. 

After Wednesday’s meeting between Gandhi and the former Prime Minister, working out these details and prepping a blueprint had been left to the state general secretaries of the two parties. The Chief Minister is expected to iron out the final deal at a meeting with Rahul Gandhi later today or tomorrow.

Amid regular friction between the two allies, the seat-sharing negotiations had drawn much attention. The opposition parties as well as the BJP have been keeping tabs -- one to gauge how the Congress treats smaller regional allies, and the BJP watching for signs of rift.

Kumaraswamy said his party is yet to decide whether his father will contest from the Mandya seat. “At present he says he doesn’t want to contest,” he told reporters. The Chief Minister’s family has been accused of nepotism regarding distribution of tickets. 

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