With the JD(S) and Congress yet to formalise a seat-sharing arrangement for the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Dinesh Gundu Rao suggested that the party would support actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj if he formally joins the party.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Dinesh Gundu Rao said that Congress being a national party cannot support an independent candidate without him/her joining the party officially.
"Prakash Raj has spoken to Siddaramaiah and asked him to offer support to him. He is contesting as an independent and we cannot offer support to an independent candidate. If he joins the Congress, then we can think about it. He has spoken to me as well," Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters.
But the actor-turned-politician categorically told TNM that he will not join the Congress.
Sources within Prakash Rajā€™s team also suggested that the "offer is nothing newā€¯.
Prakash Raj, who is set to debut in electoral politics from the Bengaluru Central seat in the coming Lok Sabha polls, has already begun campaigning much before mainstream politicians.
The actor has got immense popularity across the five southern Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. And after his announcement to contest polls, he has also got the support of the Aam Admi Party, the Telangana Rastra Samiti, the ruling party in neighbouring Telangana and another actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan.
His dive into politics is on predictable lines as he became increasingly vocal in criticising the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah after the murder of his close friend and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.
Currently, the Bengaluru Central seat is held by BJP's PC Mohan who is looking to win from the constituency for the third straight time. In an interview with TNM, Prakash Raj himself had also voiced that he would like a straight fight with the BJP with the Congress-JD(S) alliance not fielding a candidate. As of now, Congress MLC Rizwan Arshad is thought to be the key contender for a party ticket from the seat even though he lost by a margin of more than one lakh votes in the 2014 polls.