The Janata Dal (Secular) is scouting for “strong” candidates to field in the bypolls to the Lok Sabha from Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies on August 21, as it is a prestigious issue for the party to wrest the two seats that it represented.

According to State Janata Dal(S) president H.D. Kumaraswamy, a meeting, chaired by the party’s national president H.D. Deve Gowda, was held on Monday to zero in on suitable candidates for the Mandya constituency. “Another meeting will be held to discuss a candidate for Bangalore Rural constituency on Wednesday,” he said. Party leaders at all levels, especially at the grassroots, are being consulted, he added.

Though he refused to divulge the outcome of the discussion, party sources said that many favoured the name of Anitha Kumaraswamy for Bangalore Rural constituency, but her name was dropped at the insistence of the party’s State president. The name of Prabhakar Reddy, who earlier contested from the Bangalore South Assembly constituency, is being considered, the sources said. The name of the former judge and former Upalokayukta Chandrashekaraiah is being considered for Mandya constituency.

The Janata Dal(S) has taken this bypolls seriously, as both the constituencies were represented by senior party leaders.

Describing the bypolls as “agni parikshe” for the party, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that the results would be an indicator of the outcome of the general elections to the Lok Sabha. “We will chalk out a strategy after the conclusion of the legislature session,” he said.

On the reports of the Congress’ plan to field D.K. Suresh, brother of the former Minister and Kanakapura MLA D.K. Shivakumar, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that it would be a “bitter fight” between the Janata Dal(S) and the Congress in Bangalore Rural constituency. “The party is not worried about whom the Congress is going to field. Its focus is to strengthen its base in the constituency, where its share dipped in the Assembly polls,” he said.

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