Mandya Lok Sabha polls: BJP leader Narayana Gowda in touch with Congress, says Karnataka Minister

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Bengaluru: Amid reports of some disgruntlement within BJP over ceding Mandya Lok Sabha seat to alliance partner JD(S), Karnataka Agriculture Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy on Monday claimed BJP leader and former Minister KC Narayana Gowda is in touch with the Congress.

As part of the seat-sharing deal with the BJP, JD(S) will be contesting Kolar, Hassan and Mandya seats.
Sumalatha Ambareesh, an independent backed by BJP, won the 2019 general elections in Mandya.

“Yes, we have spoken to Narayana Gowda, he is in touch with us. At the earliest he along with several supporters of veteran leader from KR Pete late Krishna, who were earlier with the Congress and due to various reasons had gone along with Narayana Gowda together, are likely to join us,” Cheluvarayaswamy, who is in-charge Minister of Mandya district said.

Speaking to reporters he said they may come into the Congress fold without any conditions and accepting the party’s ideology and, after joining, the party will decide on who should be given what responsibility.

“There have been no such discussions on any conditions. The first round of discussions has happened, they are in touch, the discussions have not reached the stage where we can decide on the date of joining,” he added.

Gowda was earlier in the JD(S). He was among the 17 Congress-JD(S) legislators, who had quit their parties, which ultimately led to the collapse of the then HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July 2019. He had subsequently won the bypolls on a BJP ticket and served as Minister in the previous saffron party government.

Multilingual actress turned-politician Sumalatha defeated JD(S)’ Nikhil Kumaraswamy in the previous elections. She had also staked a claim for BJP’s ticket for re-election from the seat.

Gowda and some local leaders and workers were pitching for her candidacy and had openly demanded that the BJP should not cede the seat to JD(S).

Gowda had scripted history by recording BJP’s first ever win in the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya district in the 2019 Assembly bypolls (in Krishnarajpet). He had faced a defeat in the 2023 Assembly elections.

BJP general secretary in charge of elections in Karnataka, Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal on Saturday said the JD(S) would contest from Mandya, Hassan and Kolar segments.

Speculations are rife within the JD(S) that its state President HD Kumaraswamy is likely to contest from Mandya. Names of his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy and senior party leader and former MP CS Puttaraju are also doing the rounds.

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