A strain in ties between allies JD(S) and Congress is likely to bolster the ruling BJP’s chances from Karnataka for the Rajya Sabha elections on Friday. Four seats from the state will be up for grabs, with six candidates vying for it. Every candidate will require the backing of at least 45 MLAs in order to get elected in the Upper House.
The BJP is in majority in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly with 121 seats. While the Congress has 70 seats, the JD(S) has 32. Given their respective strengths in the state assembly, the BJP is likely to win two seats and Congress one, while the remaining seat will see a close fight with both parties going with an extra nomination.
The BJP and the Congress have re-nominated Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and former Union Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, respectively. Apart from Sitharaman, the BJP has named actor Jaggesh, Karnataka Member of Legislative Council Lahar Singh Siroya as its candidates.
The Congress has also nominated Mansoor Ali Khan, much to the surprise of their allies JD(S). Few days back, senior JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had hit out at Congress leader Siddaramaiah for naming Khan. JD(S) had also sent one of its leaders T A Sharavana to Siddaramaiah in a bid to persuade him to withdraw Khan’s nomination. Reportedly, JD(S) wanted a larger say when it came to choosing a candidate from the fourth seat. The JD(S) has even claimed that if Congress doesn’t withdraw Khan’s nomination, they will be handing BJP the crucial seat on a platter. Meanwhile, JD(S) has decided to go with media baron D Kupendra Reddy as its candidate.
Since JD(S) has only 32 votes, it would need the support from either BJP or Congress to get their pick elected to the Upper House. All three parties, while in deficit, have named their own candidate for the fourth seat, hence forcing an election. While the BJP will be left with 32 votes, the Congress will only be left with 25 votes. This is where JD(S) wanted consensus on the fourth seat with Congress, so that they could have easily gotten their nominee elected.
“We had not fielded a candidate when Deve Gowda had contested for RS last time (2020). We also made Kumaraswamy the chief minister. Now, support us if you really want to defeat the BJP,” an adamant Siddaramaiah told news agency PTI.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai, meanwhile, has expressed confidence, stating that the BJP will win three out of four seats. The elections to the four seats in the Upper House from the state were necessitated as the terms of BJP’s Nirmala Sitharaman, KC Ramamurthy and Congress’ Jairam Ramesh, Oscar Fernandes end on August 1.