RS poll scene hots up in Karnataka as BJP-JD(S) fields second candidate

Biennial election to fill four vacancies from Karnataka in RS, by the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, is scheduled for February 27.

Bengaluru: The Rajya Sabha election scene in Karnataka heated up with the BJP-JD(S) combine fielding its second candidate, even though the alliance has the strength to win only one out four seats.

The biennial election to fill four vacancies from Karnataka in Rajya Sabha, by the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, is scheduled for February 27.

The ruling Congress, whose strength is 135 in the 224-member Assembly, along with the support of Darshan Puttanaiah from Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha, and two Independents is expected to retain the three seats.

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The BJP and JD(S) with 66 and 19 members respectively are in a position to together win one seat.

According to official sources, each candidate has to get 45 votes to win, if there are only four candidates in the fray, but in the case of more candidates, then preference votes kick in.

The Congress has fielded Ajay Maken, Syed Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar as party candidates, and all of them filed their nominations on Thursday, accompanied by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala

Former MLC Narayansa Bandage, who is the BJP candidate, too filed his nomination accompanied by state BJP President B Y Vijayendra, and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly R Ashoka among others. They were joined by JD(S) president and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

In a surprise move, JD(S) leader and former Rajya Sabha Member D Kupendra Reddy too filed a nomination today, necessitating a contest. He was accompanied by Kumaraswamy, Vijayendra and Ashoka.

Kumaraswamy said Reddy was fielded based on the advice of BJP central and state leaders.

“I know there are doubts about numbers. Everything will be clear after the election results. Our party has 19 MLAs. The BJP, after ensuring one victory, will be left with additional votes. We didn’t want opposition votes to go waste,” he said.

Vijayendra said Reddy has filed his nomination after discussions between the BJP central leaders and the JD(S) leadership yesterday.

“The JD(S) will also have its own plan of action and both parties will work together for our candidate’s win,” he added.

Stating that he is contesting as a NDA candidate, Reddy said he needs four additional votes to win. “I’m confident of winning.”

Shivakumar, who is also Congress’ state president, said the Rajya Sabha elections will be a “display of unity” by the party.

“We have sufficient votes. Our three candidates will get elected to the Rajya Sabha and will work towards getting justice to the state,” he said.

To a question on ‘conscience’ votes, Shivakumar said, “JD(S) has failed, and that’s the reason they’ve tied up with BJP. I’m confident we’ll get their conscience votes. Will tell you after voting on the conscience votes we get.”

The election is necessitated to fill in four Rajya Sabha seats from the state that are getting vacant due to the retirement of Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar from the BJP, and Congress’ Chandrashekar, L Hanumanthaiah and Hussein, on April 2, after the expiry of a six-year term.

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