Days after JD (S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda demanded 12 seats for his party in the upcoming general elections, the Congress is planning to push for larger share. According to sources, the Congress party intends to press for 22 out of the 28 seats in Karnataka, as part of the coalition seat sharing.

While admitting that seat negotiations will be hard fought, Congress leaders insist that JD(S)’s demand of sharing seats on a 2:1 ratio is unacceptable. Congress leaders added that despite JD(S)’s wish to contest from all seats in their stronghold of Old Mysuru Region, the Congress will not give up any seats already held by the party.

Even though some leaders in Congress want 24 seats out of the 28, citing the fact that JD(S) managed victory in only 2-3 seats in the past elections, others believe such a proposal would strain the coalition equations.

Vote Share is Congress’ Merit

In the first week of January, Deve Gowda had demanded that the 2:1 system should be followed in seat sharing. "After the formation of the coalition government, this formula was adopted in allocating portfolios, (heads of) boards and corporations. Naturally, the same formula will apply to Lok Sabha seats," Deve Gowda had said.

However, the Congress cites the party’s performance in the past elections as the reason why they should be contesting more seats. In the 2014 elections, the BJP had won 17 out of the 28 seats in Karnataka, while Congress and JD(S) managed 9 and 2 seats each.

“But if you look at the vote share, Congress had 40.8 percent vote share, compared to BJP’s 43 percent. Compared to 2009, in 2014, we had increased our vote share by 3 percent,” pointed out a Congress leader.

According to the Congress, given the recent victories in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and their vote share, they should get more seats in the upcoming elections.

JD(S) Wants At Least 10 Seats

CM HD Kumaraswamy (right) with his father HD Deve Gowda.

In the recently held JD(S) legislative meeting, Deve Gowda said ‘he was flexible’ on the demand for 12 seats. “It is true I have asked for 12 seats, but I’m also flexible. We are bound by the one-third formula. I have asked Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal what they can give,” Deve Gowda had said.

He also added that his party has increased their presence in Vijayapura, Bidar, Yadgir, Raichur, Chickballapur, Tumakuru, Mandya, Hassan, Mysuru, and Kolar.

According to sources, although Gowda said he was flexible, during the meeting it was decided that the party will not agree to anything less than 10 seats. Following the meeting, Gowda has been given charge of negotiating with the Congress.

Old Mysuru Region in Demand

According to party insiders, the JD(S) wants to contest from Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkballapur, Bengaluru North, Chitradurga, Shivamogga, Raichur, Vijayapura, and Bidar. Seven of these seats come under the Old Mysuru Region, four are in North Karnataka and one falls under coastal Karnataka.

However, three of these seats in the Old Mysuru region – Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkballapur – are held by the Congress. The Congress leaders say they will not give up the seats.