BENGALURU: Karnataka is set to elect four members to the Rajya Sabha on Friday -- the BJP will get two seats and Congress one seat, and there is a tough fight on the cards for the fourth seat. The parties, especially the JDS, have apprehensions about cross-voting by their MLAs.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, renominated for the second consecutive term from Karnataka, and actor-turned-politician Jaggesh are fielded as first and second candidates by the BJP, and are certain to win with 45 MLA votes allotted to each of them. The victory of Congress nominee and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, nominated for the second consecutive term, is also certain.
As soon as the Congress fielded its second candidate, Mansur Ali Khan, son of former Union minister K Rahman Khan, despite having only 25 votes (including one independent), it sent out a message that it is unlikely to go with the JDS. The BJP, with 32 surplus votes, has fielded outgoing MLC Lehar Singh Siroya as its third candidate.
The JDS, which fielded former Rajya Sabha member Kupendra Reddy, has 32 surplus votes, but its efforts to get support from the Congress have not borne fruit. Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s attempt to convince the Congress that secular parties should join hands to defeat the BJP, went in vain. As of Thursday, neither the Congress nor the JDS had blinked over the probable tie-up. Instead, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy traded charges over each other’s secular credentials.
Meanwhile, the JDS shifted around 20 of its MLAs to a star hotel in the city to check any poaching by rival parties. “We had to make this move because of the Congress’ dirty politics. Siddaramaiah is pressurising our MLAs as his agenda is to defeat the JDS,” Kumaraswamy alleged. What irked him was Siddaramaiah writing an open letter to JDS MLAs to cast their conscience vote for the Congress candidate, to retain their secular credentials. “We have put up a minority leader as candidate and the people of the state are closely watching,” he said.
“It’s a shame that Siddaramaiah had branded JDS the ‘B’ team of the BJP during the 2018 assembly polls. The results of the RS polls will throw light on which party is the ‘B’ team,” Kumaraswamy said. He also claimed that it was because of former chief minister B S Yediyurappa’s stand not to field a BJP candidate against Deve Gowda during the last RS polls, that the Congress had followed suit.
RS SEAT FORMULA
A candidate has to get 45 votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat, as per formula. Three members will be elected with ease, but for the fourth seat, second preferential votes will come into effect. The BJP, with 32 surplus votes, is banking on some cross votes. The fourth candidate who fetches more first preferential votes will have an edge, as the one who garners the least number will be eliminated from the count of second preferential votes.