Congress, HD Devegowda's Party Agree On 20-8 Seat Deal In Karnataka

Janata Dal (Secular) had its pick - the list includes the prize seats of Shimoga, Tumkur, Hasan, Mandya and Bengaluru North.

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HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy have had a series of meetings with Rahul Gandhi


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. JD(S) gets crucial seats like Shimoga, Tumkur and Hasan
  2. They had been haggling over Mysuru-Kodagu seat, which went to Congress
  3. The southern region of the state is where both parties have a base

It was a long time coming - but after many meetings and discussions - the ruling Congress and Janata Dal Secular coalition partners in Karnataka have come to an agreement on seat sharing. The split was 20-8, with the Congress getting the larger share. The JD(S) share includes Shimoga, Tumkur, Hasan, Mandya, Bengaluru North, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Vijayapura.

The announcement came hours after JDS patriarch HD Devegowda said, "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 two parties had been haggling over the Mysuru-Kodagu seat, which has gone to the Congress. The southern region of the state is one where both parties do have a base and a realistic chance of winning.

Hassan and Mandya are considered the JD(S) strongholds, although the leaders' apparent plans to field two grandsons of Devegowda -- Prajwal and Nikhil -- in these seats has caused some dissatisfaction within the party.

The BJP's state chief, BS Yeddyurappa, has told NDTV they are yet to decide whether Sumalatha, the wife of the late superstar Ambareesh, would be offered ticket for Mandya to take on Nikhil. It would be her decision though, Mr Yeddyurappa said.

Nikhil is the actor son of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.

Shimoga has been represented by Mr Yeddyurappa, who quit the Lok Sabha last year to enter the Assembly.

Bengaluru North is being considered as a possible seat for Mr Devegowda, who is likely to give up his Hassan seat for Prajwal, the son of minister H S Revanna.

In 2014, the BJP had walked off with the lion's share of the seats - 17. The Congress won 9 and the JD(S) 2 seats. But to the 43 per cent vote share of the BJP, the combined vote share of the Congress and the JD(S) was nearly 52 per cent.

In a dramatic development, the two parties decided to join hands to keep the BJP out of power in the state when votes for last year's assembly polls were being counted. Later, Mr Kumaraswamy had chosen to turn his oath ceremony into the first big unofficial meet of the opposition.

This time, with both opposition parties and the BJP keeping a close watch on how the Congress steers the seat-sharing deal, both parties have ensured amicable discussions. After their meetings with Rahul Gandhi, Mr Devegowda and Mr Kumaraswamy had underscored that winning seats, and not their number, was crucial.

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