Bengaluru: Even as the last day to file nominations fast approaches, the JD(S) is unsure about fielding the candidate of its choice in Bangalore North constituency raising questions if Congress leader Mr B.L. Shankar will contest on the JD(S) ticket or party supremo Mr Deve Gowda himself would contest from two constituencies-Bangalore North and Tumakuru.
Irked by the Congress demand to give back the Bangalore North seat if Mr Gowda does not contest from there, the JD(S) supremo has said that he would consider contesting from both Tumakuru and Bangalore North.
Earlier, after failing to field Justice Gopal Gowda from the constituency, JD(S) leaders like Mr H.D. Revanna and other family members had approached Congress leader Mr B.L. Shankar to contest on a JD(S) ticket. While Mr Shankar has reportedly agreed, Siddaramaiah supporters wanted Shankar to contest on the Congress symbol.
KPCC President Dinesh Gundurao and others, who spoke to Mr Gowda, categorically said that the constituency should be given back to the Congress.
Thanks to the pitched battle for supremacy within the Congress between factions led by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Dr G Parameshwar and M Mallikarjun Kharge, even the coalition partner JD(S) is in disarray. While Dr Parameshwar and Mr Kharge are banking on AICC General Secretary Mr K.C. Venugopal to resolve the impasse, Siddaramaiah is using Congress president Rahul Gandhi's `Young Turk Brigade,' which includes leaders like Krishna Byregowda and Rizwan Arshad to play a major role along with Dinesh Gundurao. This group managed to secure the Mysuru seat swapping it for Tumakuru which went to the JD(S), ensuring a setback for Dr Parameshwar in his home district. Now, they are posing a bigger challenge by asking the JD(S) to surrender the Bengaluru North seat.
During seat distribution, Siddaramaiah had insisted that Bangalore North should be given to the Congress as it has five MLAs in this Parliament segment and the JD(S), only two MLAs. However, JD(S) leaders said that Mr Gowda himself was contemplating contesting from the seat. Soon after seat sharing was announced, five Congress MLAs, including Mr S.T. Somashekhar, Mr Byrati Suresh and Mr Akhanda Srinivasmurthy said that JD(S) should convene a meeting to solve their problems before filing the nomination. They also met Chief Minister Mr Kumaraswamy in this regard, but the JD(S) was non-committal.
All the five Congress MLAs from this area, including Mr Krishna Byregowda are Siddaramaiah followers. Their argument is that they cannot seek votes in favour of JD(S), unless Mr Gowda is the candidate. Even if the JD(S) gives the ticket to Mr B.L. Shankar, he should contest on the Congress symbol, they said. The JD(S) and supporters of Dr Parameshwar and Mr Kharge consider this a clear indication of arm twisting by the Siddaramaiah camp. Since Mr Gowda has said that he would consider contesting from two constituencies after filing his nomination from Tumakuru on Monday, Bangalore North is still wide open leading to wild speculation about who will take on the BJP's D.V. Sadananda Gowda....