Winnability will be criteria in seat sharing with JD(S), says Siddaramaiah
As ruling coalition partners in Karnataka began parleys on seat sharing for Lok Sabha polls, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Monday said winnability will be the criteria
'I won't contest from anywhere, whether it is Koppal or Dharwad or Mysuru. I won't contest from anywhere,' Siddaramiah said.
Bengaluru: As ruling coalition partners in Karnataka began parleys on seat sharing for Lok Sabha polls, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Monday said winnability will be the criteria.
The leader of the Congress Legislature party also ruled out his contesting the parliamentary polls and said, he would like to continue in state politics.
"There is hope that there will be agreement on seat sharing... no ratio, who will win from where is important," Siddaramaiah, who is also the head of Congress-JD(S) coordination committee told reporters in Hubballi.
Pointing out that the first meeting on seat sharing is on between coalition partners, he said, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara from the Congress' side; JD(S) state chief H Vishwanath and PWD Minister H D Revanna from the regional party's side will be holding discussions today.
"I will then call a coordination committee meeting, where we will discuss again," he added. Congress and JD(S) as per their coalition arrangement have decided to fight the Lok Sabha polls together.
However, seat sharing is likely to be a major test for both parties as JD(S) banking on two-third, one-third formula adopted in ministry formation and allocation of boards and corporations, has demanded for 10 to 12 seats out of the total 28. The Congress is opposed to this, and has maintained that sharing of seats will be based on "merit".
Also, there is pressure from within the Congress not to cede too many seats to JD(S), specially ten seats where the party has sitting MPs.
Sharing of seats from old Mysuru region is expected to be an acid test for both parties, as JD(S) considers it as its bastion, and the Congress has its sitting members from most of the seats there.
The Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya will be another bone of contention between the coalition partners as JD(S) has plans to field Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil from the seat that it currently holds, while there is growing pressure within the Congress to field Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late actor-turned-politician M H Ambareesh.
Noting that Sumalatha had met and told him that she was under pressure from party workers in Mandya and Ambareesh's fans to contest the Lok Sabha polls from there, Siddaramaiah said, "I have told her that we are yet to discuss seat sharing, and would discuss with her after that."
The Congress is hopeful of gaining the seat banking on Ambaressh's popularity in the region and sympathy wave by fielding his wife Sumalatha, who is also a popular south Indian actress.
There are also talks about Sumalatha contesting independently, if the JD(S) does not give up the seat to Congress in her favour.
Siddaramaiah also denied reports that he was shifting to national politics.
"I won't contest from anywhere, whether it is Koppal or Dharwad or Mysuru. I won't contest from anywhere," he said in response to a question about him contesting from Koppal.
Asked what his decision would be if the high command asked him to contest, he said, "The high command won't tell me (to contest)."
"I am in state politics now, I will continue there," he added. Responding to a question about the delay in SIT probe into an audio clip containing purported conversation to lure a JD(S) MLA, involving state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, Siddaramaiah said, it is for the Chief Minister to decide, as he had announced it on the floor of the assembly.