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August 10, 2018

Delay in seat sharing hampers poll preparations of Cong-JD(S)

TNN

Bengaluru, Aug 10: While the opposition BJP has already begun the spadework for the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for early next year, poll preparations of the ruling Congress and JD(S) have hit a pause button because of the delay in arriving at a consensus on seat sharing.

Leaders candidly admit that the delay is creating confusion among workers, sittings MPs and aspirants from both parties. Despite the two parties deciding to have an electoral alliance for LS polls in Karnataka, their leaders are still at loggerheads over seat sharing.

Citing a general understanding between leaders of the parties, sources said Congress is planning to contest 18 seats, leaving 10 for its alliance partner. But sources said, there is a difference of opinion between the party’s central leadership that is trying to forge a Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) with regional parties and state leaders who fear allocation of too many seats to JD(S) will harm its prospects in the long run.

Former chief minister and chairman of the coordination committee, Siddaramaiah, who recently met AICC president Rahul Gandhi is believed to have spoken on behalf of the disgruntled camp, to apprise him of the risk involved in giving undue seats to JD(S). But sources say the central leadership is no mood to offend JD(S) keeping the national interest in mind.

Senior leaders too have little clue about when the seat-sharing arrangement will be announced, though the official party line is that it will happen after urban local body polls scheduled for August 29.

Aspirants of the ruling Congress and JD(S), including some sitting MPs, are in a dilemma over the possibility of getting tickets and contesting from constituencies of their choice. “We have adopted a wait-and-watch approach without worrying on the spadework,” said a former Congress MP who is planning to contest from Bengaluru Central.

A JD(S) aspirant for the Mysuru-Kodagu seat expressed concern that the party may be ill-prepared for 2019 due to the uncertainty. “There is an urgent need to have clarity on seat sharing,” he added.

“The issue is not only about JD(S) and Congress bastions; confusion reigns over other seats as well. We don’t know whether we need to work full time or part time. We are in a worse situation today than we were in 2014,” he said.

In the 2014 LS polls, BJP had won 17 seats, Congress 9 and JD (S) 2.

Will intensify efforts after Aug 11

The delay in the seat-sharing arrangement will not come in way of our poll preparations. As we have decided to fight LS polls along with JD(S), seat sharing really doesn’t matter much. AICC president Rahul Gandhi will officially blow the poll bugle in Bidar on August 11 and thereafter, we have decided to intensify our preparations in the state. We have already readied 58,000 booth committees Prof KE Radhakrishna, KPCC vice president

Delay in seat sharing hampers poll preparations of Cong-JD(S)

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