BENGALURU: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman won the Rajya Sabha polls comfortably to represent the state for the second consecutive term in the Upper House.The polls for four seats in Karnataka were held here on Friday, of which BJP won three, Congress one and JDS none. In all, six candidates were in the fray from the three parties.
For BJP, apart from Nirmala, actor-turned-politician Jaggesh, who was the party’s second candidate, and Lehar Singh Siroya too won, boosting the morale of the BJP government, led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Congress’ nominee and former union minister Jairam Ramesh sailed through for a second consecutive term from the state. The fourth seat witnessed a tough fight between the three parties as none had the required 45 votes to win. Eventually, Lehar Singh emerged victorious with BJP taking advantage of a rift between JDS and Congress over fielding one candidate between the two of them to defeat the saffron party.
After allocating 46 votes to Nirmala and 44 to Jaggesh, BJP was left with only 32 surplus votes. JDS had 32 votes, and Congress a surplus of 25 votes. Congress had fielded former union minister K Rahman Khan’s son Mansur Ali Khan as its second candidate, while JDS had former Rajya Sabha member Kupendra Reddy. Congress, with 70 MLAs including an independent, could win Jairam Ramesh’s seat, but did not have enough votes for the second seat.
JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda and party senior leader HD Kumaraswamy put in a lot of effort to come to an understanding with Congress to defeat “communal” BJP. But it was not to be, as KPCC president DK Shivakumar and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah were against such an alliance.
JDS with 30 votes, as against Lehar Singh’s 33, could not get the second-preference votes and lost the battle. But a big take back for the regional party in the Rajya Sabha elections was that it managed to keep its flock together, except for the rebel from Kolar, K Srinivasa Gowda, and Gubbi MLA SR Srinivas, who cross-voted for Congress and BJP respectively. “Congress is responsible for the victory of BJP’s third candidate and a new chapter in the state politics will begin soon,” quipped Kumaraswamy who was visibly miffed over the debacle of the party.
MODI, SHAH, NADDA PAT CM ON THE BACK
Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and national party president JP Nadda personally congratulated Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after all the three party candidates won the Rajya Sabha elections on Friday. They called Bommai over phone and expressed their satisfaction that all the three won despite the obvious shortage of votes for the third candidate. They appreciated the state’s efforts in bolstering the party’s strength in the Rajya Sabha.