The Congress-JD(S) alliance partners on Thursday announced that the JD(S) would contest from eight segments - Uttara Kannada, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, Tumakuru, Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru North and Vijayapura. The party, which was hoping to get the Mysuru-Kodagu segment, was sorely disappointed when the list was finalised.
Now, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda is driving a hard bargain and demanding that the Congress offer the Mysuru-Kodagu segment to the JD(S). "Deve Gowda has decided that he will not contest elections if the Mysuru-Kodagu segment is not given to the JD(S). The party leaders and workers wanted him to contest from this segment but Siddaramaiah has blocked that," a JD(S) source said.
During the screening committee meeting held on Thursday, the Congress decided to let go of one of its strongholds, Tumakuru, to the JD(S). Party insiders say that Congress President Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to meet Deve Gowda on Friday, where they will discuss the issue of the Mysuru-Kodagu segment.
"Rahul Gandhi may let go of Mysuru, especially if Deve Gowda says he will not contest elections at all. Deve Gowda also will not campaign for the Congress candidates in Bengaluru Rural and other Old Mysuru regions like Kolar and Chikkaballapura. This would mean that the JD(S) party workers across the state may work against the Congress if Deve Gowda does not contest," the JD(S) source added.
During the 2018 Karnataka Assembly Elections, JD(S) leader GT Devegowda defeated former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from the Chamundeshwari segment and emerged as the giant slayer. The embarrassment Siddaramaiah suffered has led him to hold on to the Mysuru segment and not give up his home turf to his arch rival, the JD(S).
Once a member of the JD(S), Siddaramaiah had quit the party and joined Congress after a bitter feud with HD Deve Gowda in 2006. "Siddaramaiah will never give up Mysuru to the JD(S), especially if Deve Gowda has to contest. He would not be OK with campaigning for the JD(S) in his home district, especially when his whole campaign strategy in the past was against the JD(S). If the high command forces him to give it up, there will be a rebellion in the party," a Congress source said.