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LS elections 2019: Congress, JD(S) finalise Karnataka seat-sharing deal - Times of India

BENGALURU: After several rounds of parleys, the Congress and JD(S) have finally agreed to a seat-sharing deal in Karnataka with the H D Deve Gowda-led party scaling down its expectations and settling for eight out of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

The JD(S) will now contest the eight seats of Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru North, Tumakuru, Udupi-Chikkamagalur, Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada and Vijayapura. The party will back Congress candidates in the remaining 20 constituencies.

Under the present arrangement, the Congress will sacrifice the constituency of Tumakuru, which is currently represented by its MP S P Muddhanume Gowda. Incidentally, Gowda was with the JD(S) till 2014 and joined the Congress during the last general elections.

In the seat-sharing deal, the JD(S) has gained two possible seats of Tumakuru and Bengaluru North where it has a favourable support base but conceded the constituencies of Mysuru and Chikkaballapura, where too it enjoys substantial support.

The compromise by JD(S) gives former Union minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily a new lease of life since he had retained the seat of Chikkaballapura in 2014 by a narrow margin.

The seat sharing formula gives JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda an option to contest from either Bengaluru North or Tumakuru. He has already conceded the party bastions of Mandya and Hassan to grandsons Nikhil Kumaraswamy and Prajwal Revanna.

The JD(S) has also scored Vijayapura district in north Karnataka where it put up a good show in last year's assembly elections.

The Congress has ceded the seats of Shivamogga and Uttara Kannada, the two bastions of BJP stalwarts B S Yeddyurappa and Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, to JD(S).

Earlier in the day, JD(S) general secretary Danish Ali met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and finalised the seat sharing mechanism after discussions with Deve Gowda.