In a U-turn, former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president H.D. Deve Gowda has now agreed to support the Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka.
The Congress can now heave a sigh of relief as Gowda had earlier written a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi, requesting her to support the JD(S) candidate this time to reciprocate his gesture on previous two occasions in 2004 and 2008.
Gowda’s letter was seen as “pressure tactics” to force the Congress into accepting some of his demands, including support on two seats in the legislative council.
By writing the letter and floating party general secretary Danish Ali’s name, a senior Congress functionary said Gowda was trying to bargain hard for one more council seat. The Congress had initially agreed to support the JD(S) only on one seat. “We knew from the beginning that Danish was just a dummy candidate. In fact, Gowda was pushing the names of some industrialists for the seat,” the Congress leader said.
By accepting Gowda’s proposal, the Congress with 74 legislators in the 225-member assembly has ensured the victory of its two candidates in the June 17 polls.
The BJP with 116 legislators can win two seats on its own and would still have a surplus of 32 votes while the JD(S) has just 27 votes. For getting elected to the Rajya Sabha, a candidate has to secure at least 45 votes as per the assembly strength.
Though the JD(S) leadership has maintained it would not have any role in the selection, it’s learnt that Gowda had requested the Congress leadership not to nominate a particular senior leader with whom he has serious differences.
The Congress is likely to re-nominate its two sitting members Oscar Fernandes and B.K. Hariprasad but Gandhi is expected to take a final call in the next few days.