Ballari: At a time when the top brass of the Congress and Janata Dal (S)ecular are urging their party cadre to bury the hatchet and work unitedly for the victory of coalition candidates in the coming Lok Sabha polls, the situation is not so rosy in Hyderabad-Karnataka where JD(S) leaders are fuming at their Congress counterparts for their 'Big Brother' attitude.
These leaders warn that the poll verdict may go against the coalition candidates if Congress leaders do not mend their ways and change their approach towards the coalition partner. The Janata Dal (Secular) has not fielded its candidate in five Lok Sabha seats-Kalaburagi, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Ballari in the H-K region and is supporting Congress candidates instead. Initially, during the seat sharing arrangement with Congress, the JD(S) had demanded the Raichur (ST) seat but the Congress refused to give up the seat represented by its MP, B.V. Nayak.
With all four constituencies set to witness polling on April 23, the rift between workers of the Congress and JD(S) is worsening by the day.
The Janata Dal (Secular) leaders contend that although their party is not a force to reckon with in the H-K region like it is in Old Mysuru, it is still a deciding factor in the polls. Of the total 40 Assembly constituencies spread across the six districts of the region, the Congress won 21 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party 15 and the JD(S) 4 in the 2018 elections.
The Janata Dal (Secular) stood second in eight constituencies and third in 24 assembly segments. Senior JD(S) leader from Ballari, Hothur Mohammed Iqbal says the party should have bargained for one seat in the H-K region, since it has fielded one candidate in the coast in Udupi Chikkamagalur and also in Uttara Kannada in the Mumbai Karnataka region.
According to him, while the JD(S) on its own may not be able to win seats in the Hyderabad Karnataka region, the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress combine can certainly consolidate secular votes and ensure the victory of the coalition candidate.
“But Congress leaders here have taken the JD(S) for granted and do not even bother to say that the Congress candidate is a common candidate of the coalition partners,” Mr Iqbal lamented....