Bengaluru: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is learnt to have entered into an electoral understanding with its Kerala ally Janata Dal (Secular) for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly Elections scheduled for May.
As per the deal, JD(S) has agreed not to field a candidate in the Bagepalli constituency, which is located near the Andhra Pradesh border. CPM sees potential in Bagepalli as it was the runner-up in the 2018 polls, with the main contest with the Congress party.
In the previous elections, Congress' SN Subbareddy defeated CPM's GV Sreerama Reddy with a margin of 14,013 votes. JD(S) had secured 38,302 votes. Subbareddy won the constituency in 2013 as an independent candidate despite facing competition from CPM, INC, and JD(S).
CPM has a history of winning in Bagepalli, having secured victory thrice in 1983, 1994, and 2004. Sreerama Reddy had won twice from the constituency (1994, 2004). However, he was removed from the party central committee and as Karnataka state committee secretary for alleged misconduct in 2018. Sreerama Reddy passed away exactly a year ago at the age of 68.
A win in a fourth Assembly, in addition to its stronghold states of Kerala, Tripura, and Tamil Nadu, is crucial for CPM as its national party status is under threat. CPI had lost its national party status in 2023.
CPM and CPI are likely to refrain from contesting in constituencies in coastal Karnataka to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from gaining an advantage.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda has announced his support for the Left parties in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Speaking to news agency ANI, Devegowda said, "I will stand with left parties in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections."
CPI has stated that it plans to contest the elections in Karnataka using the "ears of corn and sickle" symbol, but no official news of any alliance has surfaced yet.
With inputs from agencies.