The decision to divide the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka is not appearing easy for the Congress and its ally Janata Dal Secular. After signalling that numbers are not vital to his party and they were willing to settle for fewer than the 12 seats they wanted, JD(S) patriarch HD Devegowda today indicated that the question is still open.
"Out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, it is not yet decided as to how many seats will be divided between the JD(S) and the Congress. Rahul Gandhi will take a call on the 15th," the former Prime Minister said.
Mr Gandhi, he said, has already held a meeting regarding this with members of the screening committee. "He is on a three-day tour to Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Once he comes back a decision will be taken," Mr Deve Gowda, the father of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, said.
Both Mr Devegowda and Mr Kumaraswamy have had a series of meetings with Mr Gandhi. After each, they have underscored that winning seats, and not their number, was crucial. Party sources initially said the JD(S) was willing to settle for nine seats. After Mr Kumaraswamy's meeting with Rahul Gandhi, the figure dropped to eight.
"The number of seats that we will contest is not an issue," Mr Kumaraswamy said after the meeting last week.
Mr Deve Gowda had told NDTV that Rahul 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.