Even as the Congress is looking for “strong” candidates for the byelections to Bangalore Rural and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies on August 21, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Karnataka Janata Paksha are contemplating fielding consensus candidates to avoid a split in their vote share.
A meeting of BJP and JD (S) leaders on Monday provided credence to this speculation. JD(S) State president H.D. Kumaraswamy, the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, BJP leaders R. Ashok and Basavaraj Bommai, and JD (S) leader N. Cheluvarayaswamy met at Mr. Kumaraswamay’s chamber and discussed the issue.
A senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that “results of the meeting are encouraging and both the parties are not averse to the idea.”
When contacted, Mr. Kumaraswamy said the talks were still in a “fluid state”, but there was a positive response for the proposal to “teach the Congress a lesson.”
Noting that the Congress’ vote share in the Assembly election was 35.5 per cent, he said that a significant section of people voted against the party. Though he hinted at the JD(S) backing out in one of the two constituencies, Mr. Kumaraswamy refused to elaborate on the issue.
Meanwhile, the former Minister and senior BJP leader Ramachandra Gowda met Mr. Kumaraswamy and reportedly conveyed his party’s stand on the issue.
According to sources, the issue cropped up at the BJP’s State core committee meeting on Monday and a majority of the members did not oppose the idea. State leaders of both the parties are planning to approach their national leadership now.