Bengaluru: In a major embarrassment to the ruling Congress-JDS coalition, a minister in the HD Kumaraswamy government on Wednesday admitted there are Janata Dal (Secular) workers who voted for the BJP in some places in Mysore.
JDS Minister GT Deve Gowda was speaking to mediapersons in Mysore when he let slip that he felt there are areas in the Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency where JDS workers may not have voted for the coalition candidate CH Vijayshankar, the Congressman fielded by both parties.
"There is some wrongdoing, not just by one party but by both parties. It took a long time for us to decide which seat goes to which party. If the top leadership takes such a long time to decide this, how can we sort out or bring in control over our grassroots-level workers? Nobody could sort out the differences in the local level," Gowda said, in what was perhaps just the voicing of an open secret.
Differences between workers of the JDS and the Congress run deep in south Karnataka though the two came together to form a coalition government in the state after the Assembly elections in April 2018. The two parties also have a pre-poll pact for the Lok Sabha elections, but convincing workers of both parties to work together has been an uphill task. South Karnataka is the region where both parties had fought tooth and nail during the Assembly poll.
Citing the example of Udburu gram panchayat that comes under his Assembly constituency of Chamundeshwari in Mysore, Gowda said he was aware that Congress workers here voted for the candidate, but JDS workers voted for the BJP candidate.
"If we had decided two months ahead of elections on how we (the two ally parties) are sharing the Lok Sabha seats between us, then we could have worked harder at the village level and sorted things out. If both parties had worked hard and remained united, BJP would not have won even five seats," he said.
There are 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, and the Congress and JDS are jointly facing the BJP in all these seats. In Mysore, BJP's Pratap Simha has been the sitting MP since 2014, and is seeking re-election.
The Mysore candidate fielded by the coalition, Vijayashankar brushed away Gowda's remarks, saying that personal opinions of leaders will not affect his chances.
"We should win based on people's decision, not anything else. And I have faith in that decision. It has been exercised and now safely locked up and put away in machines (EVMs)," he said.