JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on Monday filed his nomination from Tumkur as the ruling alliance candidate, but will have to face two rebel candidates from ally Congress.
Defying the electoral arrangement between the coalition partners under which Tumkur was allotted to JDS, sitting Congress MP S P Muddahanumegowda filed his papers.
Muddahanumegowda filed his nomination wearing the Congress party's scarf and said he still has faith about getting a ticket from his party.
"I'm filing my nomination as the Congress candidate... I'm not filing the nomination for fun, I'm a Member of Parliament from Tumkur and I'm contesting" he told reporters ahead of filing his nomination.
Responding to a question about Congress reportedly offering Bangalore North ticket to him, he said, "I'm a Member of Parliament from Tumkur, I don't have powers to contest from anywhere, I should not do it also.
I'm not a big leader to contest from anywhere...What should I do going to Bangalore North?"
"Tomorrow is the last date for filing nomination, I still have faith...Anything may happen any time in politics. There is time till 3 PM tomorrow, I will wait," he said to a query about his move in case the Congress does not give him a ticket.
The JD(S), which had got eight tickets, Monday conceded Bangalore North seat to the Congress that had secured 20 of the total of 28 seats in the deal.
Meanwhile, according to reports, K N Rajanna, another Congress leader and former MLA, also filed his nomination on Monday from Tumkur as an independent candidate.
Announcing his decision to file the papers from Tumkur, Congress MLA KN Rajanna said he would vote for the Gowda if “he chooses to contest as Congress candidate.” “We request Deve Gowda to contest from Bengaluru North instead of Tumkur. If Deve Gowda wants to contest from here, let him contest on Congress ticket, we all will vote for him,” he told news agency ANI.
After filing the nomination from Tumkur, Gowda said he did not want to hurt Muddahanumegowda and that he chose to contest from the seat on demands of several Congress and JDS leaders.
“I've worked as Lok Sabha MP for 29 years, that's why I had said I won't contest elections. I had decided to make sure Prajwal Revanna contests from Hassan. Farooq Abdullah, Mamata Banerjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad and many leaders, including my friends, suggested me to contest,” he said.
“I know when we took this decision it might have hurt the sitting MP from Tumkur SP Muddahanumegowda. I don't want to hurt him, Congress leaders conveyed everything to him...I chose to contest from Tumkur on the demand of many Congress and JD(S) leaders,” Gowda added.
As soon as the seat sharing was announced, Muddahanumegowda, along with the Deputy Chief Minister, who is from Tumkur, had requested JD(S) to give the seat back to Congress, amid simmering discontent within the party's local leadership about ceding the seat to the alliance partner.
They had also requested the Congress high command to renegotiate the seat with the JD(S), as the grand old party had earlier decided that all the sitting members, including Muddahanumegowda from Tumkur, will get the ticket.
However, Parameshwara had later said they were okay if Deve Gowda himself contests from Tumkur.
BJP has fielded G S Basavaraj as its candidate from Tumkur.
According to sources, JD(S) bagged Tumkur seat after hard bargaining with the Congress as the party did not concede Mysore, another seat it had demanded, due to strong resentment from CLP leader Siddaramaiah, as it is his home turf.
Mysore and Tumkur both come under old Mysuru region,where the Vokkaliga community, seen as a strong vote bank of the JD(S), is dominant.
Congress too has considerable presence there.
If Muddahanumegowda contests from Tumkur as a rebel candidate, it will add to the Congress-JD(S) coalition worries as the alliance is facing backlash at several places, including Mandya and Hassan, with party workers are unhappy with the seat arrangements.
For the coalition to emerge as a formidable opposition to BJP and win more number of seats, it is crucial for the Congress to transfer its votes to JD(S) and vice-versa, including Mandya.