A day ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls for four seats from Karnataka, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday strongly urged the Congress to support his party candidate to strengthen “secular forces”. In a series of tweets, the former Chief Minister said to defeat the BJP, the Congress should support JD(S), which has more votes than it.
“JD(S) has fielded Kupendra Reddy as its first candidate in the Rajya Sabha election. He is an entrepreneur, social worker and a progressive thinker. He is an experienced Rajya Sabha member and all parties must extend support to him with open mind. To strengthen the secular forces Congress must fully support Kupendra Reddy,” Kumaraswamy said.
“To defeat the BJP, Congress should support JD(S) which has more votes than it. There is no doubt that history and people will decide in future based on the outcome of this election result. I firmly believe that honourable Randeep Singh Surjewala (AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka) will understand this point,” he added.
The talks between the Congress and JD(S) to find some kind of a partnership aimed at defeating the ruling BJP in the contest for the fourth seat to Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka seems to have reached a deadlock, with both parties firmly sticking to their stand.
Kumaraswamy had made an offer to trade second preference votes with the Congress, but the main opposition party on Wednesday made it clear to the JD(S) that it was now time for it to return the favour, pointing out that former prime minister H D Deve Gowda got elected to Rajya Sabha last time with its support in June 2020.
Six candidates are in the fray in the Rajya Sabha elections for four seats from Karnataka, necessitating a tight contest for the fourth seat. Despite not having the adequate number of votes to win the fourth seat from the state Assembly, all the three political parties in the state — BJP, Congress and JD(S) — have fielded candidates for the seat, forcing an election.
The six candidates in the fray for Rajya Sabha polls from the state are — Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, actor-politician Jaggesh and outgoing MLC Lehar Singh Siroya from the BJP, former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh and state general secretary Mansoor Ali Khan from the Congress, and former MP D Kupendra Reddy from the JD(S). Ignoring JD(S)’ request for support, the Congress did not withdraw its second candidate Khan from the fray and issued a whip to all its MLAs asking them to vote for the party’s candidates.
A candidate needs the support of 45 MLAs to win and based on their strength in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP can win two seats and the Congress one. After getting two Rajya Sabha candidates (Sitharaman and Jaggesh) elected on its own strength in the Assembly, the BJP will be left with an additional 32 MLA votes.
The Congress will be left with 24 MLA votes after electing Jairam Ramesh, while the JD(S) has only 32 MLAs, which is not sufficient to win a seat. Counting of votes will take place on June 10 at 5 pm, which is after the polling hours.
Official sources said, as there are three candidates for the fourth seat and none of them have adequate number of votes to win, a situation may arise where the second and third preferential votes may have to be counted if necessary. There is also a view that the BJP may be at an advantage if preferential votes were to be counted and the Congress and JD(S) don’t come to any understanding or if there is no cross-voting.