- Deve Gowda filed nomination papers from Tumakuru in southern Karnataka
- The JDS has asked the Congress to field a candidate for Bengaluru North
- Upset with this, a Congress lawmaker also filed his papers from Tumkuru
After weeks of suspense, Janata Dal Secular patriarch HD Deve Gowda today filed his nomination papers for the coming Lok Sabha elections from Tumakuru, saying he was persuaded to contest by key opposition leaders, including Mamata Banerjee and Ghulam Nabi Azad. But in the south Karnataka seat from where he finally decided to contest, he is up against a Congressman, who refuses to budge despite orders from his party.
SP Muddahanumegowda, the sitting lawmaker of the Congress, is extremely unhappy with the allotment of his seat to the JDS. And despite orders from the party to back off, he has filed his nomination from the seat.
Tumakuru votes on April 18 -- the last date of withdrawal of nomination is Thursday.
As of now, the lawmaker says he expects his party to capitulate. "The people are with me and I'm confident that the party would also come to my rescue," he said.
The Congress says the allotment of Tumakuru was party chief Rahul Gandhi's decision.
"Rahul Gandhi suggested that we give Tumakuru to JDS after joint discussions. We obeyed the decision. We didn't expect that Deve Gowda ji would decide to contest from here, so it is great news for us," said Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
Mr Deve Gowda said he is contesting from Tumakuru on the demand of many Congress and JDS leaders. The former Prime Minister gave up his Hassan seat for grandson Prajwal Revanna. His other grandson, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, is contesting from Mandya, the other seat won by the JDS in 2014.
"I know when we took this decision it might have hurt the sitting MP from Tumkur SP Muddahanumegowda. I don't want to hurt him, Congress leaders conveyed everything to him," he told reporters.
Explaining the flip flops over his decision to contest, Mr Deve Gowda said, "I have worked as a Lok Sabha MP for 29 years, that's why I had said I won't contest elections".
But "Farooq Abdullah, Mamata Banerjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad and many leaders, including my friends, suggested that I contest," added the former Prime Minister.
It took a while for Mr Deve Gowda to confirm which seat he would contest from -- there was talk of Bengaluru North before he finally decided on Tumakuru.
The JDS has since asked the Congress to field a candidate for Bengaluru North, despite being allotted the seat under the seat-sharing arrangement with its coalition partner.