BENGALURU: The names of JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda and Congress veteran Mallkarjun Kharge are doing the rounds for the Rajya Sabha elections from the state in June when four sitting members’ tenure will end.
While it will be smooth sailing for Kharge, Gowda will require some support from the Congress to make it to the Upper House.
The RS members whose tenure will end are B K Hariprasad and Rajiv Gowda (both Congress), Prabhakar Kore (BJP) and Kupendra Reddy (JDS).After the bypolls, BJP strength in Legislative Assembly has gone up to 117, while Congress’s numbers have come down to 68 and the JDS to 34. With its current strength, the BJP can get two RS members elected without any difficulty as 45 votes are required for one candidate to win.
While the Congress can comfortably ensure victory of one candidate, it will still be left with surplus votes that the JDS will be looking for in the polls.Congress sources said Kharge is interested in contesting the elections. Kharge, who had won 11 elections consecutively — nine assembly and two Lok Sabha — lost to BJP’s Dr Umesh Jadhav in the 2019 LS polls.
On Tuesday, speaking to reporters, Kharge refused to comment on his candidature stating that the party high command would decide.According to JDS sources, party leaders are keen on 87-year-old Gowda contesting the polls. “Deve Gowda is our voice. We need someone like him to raise issues related to Karnataka in Parliament. We are appealing to him to contest. But he is not keen,’’ JDS MLC T A Saravana said.
Sources said after the party’s poor show in the bypolls as well as the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, JDS has been on a revival mode. JDS has 34 MLAs in the state as against the required 45 seats to elect the RS member. “We will talk to Congress leaders. Since we have time, we will do that in the coming days,’’ said a senior JDS leader on the condition of anonymity.
A six-time MP since his 1991 Lok Sabha election, Gowda has lost the LS elections thrice including the 2019 Lok Sabha election where he contested from Tumkur. He was an RS member from 1996 to 1998.
For BJP, it is early for it to decide on a candidate, say sources.Members of RS are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation.