The JD(S) is weighing all options before finalising a ‘winnable candidate’ for the high-profile seat.

Is senior Congress leader C.K. Jaffer Sharief, who was denied a ticket by the party, eying the Mysore Lok Sabha seat?

Political circles in Mysore were agog with speculations that the Janata Dal (Secular), which is yet to announce its candidate, is reportedly planning to field Mr. Sharief. Rumour has it that the JD(S) is making serious efforts to rope in Mr. Sharief and field him in Mysore. Incidentally, Mr. Sharief met the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Bangalore on Saturday. The former Chief Minster H.D. Kumaraswamy was also present. Though Mr. Sharief, a political heavyweight, is yet to make his stand clear on whether or not he will contest the election under a different symbol, the JD(S) is said to have put off its decision on naming the candidate for Mysore LS seat until he returns from Makkah.

The JD(S) is weighing all options before finalising a ‘winnable candidate’ for the high-profile seat.

A senior JD(S) leader, who is also an MLA, told The Hindu that the party has “invited Mr. Sharief”, but the senior Congress leader is yet to decide. “The party will strengthen if Mr. Sharief joins. If he is unwilling to contest the election, his presence itself will give a big boost to the party,” the leader said.

Out of 28 LS seats in the State, the party has reportedly decided to field a candidate from the minority community in at least one of the constituencies. “This is likely to happen in Mysore LS constituency as a prominent leader from the minority community in the party is unwilling to contest from Bangalore Central,” he said.

Abdul Azeem, former JD(S) MLC, is one of the choices for the Mysore LS seat.

Sources in the party said the Mysore LS constituency has about 2.50 lakh Muslim voters, almost the same number of Vokkaliga voters besides a ‘good’ number of traditional voters. “If the JJD(S) garners these votes, the party will have an edge over the Congress, which also banks on minority voters,” sources observed.

With JD(S) MLA Sa. Ra. Mahesh turning down the party’s offer to contest from Mysore, the third option before the party is to rope in a former BJP MLC, who was a BJP ticket aspirant, and field him. “The leader, a Lingayat, is yet to accept our offer. The party is closely watching all the developments,” sources said.

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