Tumkur: Rifts in the Congress- Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka on Monday seemed to intensify further as the Lok Sabha elections inches closer.
The gaping rift in the alliance was visible when Congress sitting MP, SP Muddahanumegowda on Monday filed his nomination from Tumkur, which under the seat-sharing arrangement announced earlier was ceded to the JD(S) after supremo Deve Gowda said he will fight from the Tumkur seat. Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, it was agreed that Congress will contest 20 seats and JD(S) on eight.
“I have filed my nomination as a Congress candidate. I request my leader and JD (S) to reconsider their decision and give me the ticket to contest from Tumkur. I am confident that I will get back the seat,” Muddahanumegowda told media persons here after filing his nomination.
Muddahanumegowda filed his nomination for Tumkur despite a request made by Deputy Chief Minister G Parmeshwara on Sunday to “obey the coalition dharma”.
Congress leader and former MLA K N Rajanna backed Muddahanumegowda and said: “We’ve requested Gowda to contest from Bengaluru North instead of Tumkur. If Deve Gowda wants to contest from here, let him contest on Congress ticket, we all will vote for him.”
Clearing that things are not fine between the Congress and JDS, G Parmeshwara said that it is unfortunate that Tumkur and Deve Gowda has come between the give and take policy in Karnataka.
“It was party high command who decided to give away Tumkur parliamentary constituency to JDS. I have been requesting Gowda ji to contest elections from Tumkur. It is unfortunate that Tumkur and Deve Gowda has come between the give and take policy in the state,” Congress leader G Parmeshwara told ANI.
“Tumkur was a sitting seat and it was the only sitting seat out of 10 in Karnataka that we gave away to JDS. We requested JDS to not ask for Tumkur. We told them if Gowda ji is not fighting then they should leave the seat.
But now they have decided to field him from that seat. As he has decided to contest, naturally we will support him,” he added.
Elaborating about the seat-sharing formula stitched between the Congress and JDS, Parmeshwara said: “In politics, many things happen. We never expected that we will be fighting this election together with JD (S). The question of seat sharing was decided by our party high command. They asked for 12 seats. The high command decided to give away eight seats and now we are fighting with that formula.”
Requesting former Prime Minister Gowda not to contest from Tumkur, Parmeshwara stated: “Deve Gowda should not contest as rebel candidate or independent candidate. I made a request to Gowda ji to not go to that extent. We all have a responsibility and we all want Gowda ji to win the seat that he fights from.”
He added that we don’t want the BJP to come into power. It is not a question of prestige or ego, it’s a question of not allowing the BJP to come to the Centre.
Responding to Deve Gowda’s offer to Congress to field its candidate from North Bengaluru, Parmeshwara said: “It is not one or another. Rahul ji has said clearly that we will support Deve Gowda. We are just respecting the Congress chief’s decision. If I have to fight from Bengaluru against Prime Minister Modi, I’m prepared for it.”
Karnataka will go to polls during the second and third phases of Lok Sabha polling on April 18 and April 23, respectively. Results will be announced on May 23.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 17 seats in Karnataka while the Congress bagged nine seats and JDS got two seats.