Number game begins in Karnataka for Rajya Sabha polls on February 27 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Number game begins in Karnataka for Rajya Sabha polls on February 27

BySharath Sharma Kalagaru
Feb 25, 2024 05:01 AM IST

While JD(S) is in the danger zone as they need the support of Congress and other independent candidates to win their seat

Bengaluru With the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for February 27, the number game has begun in Karnataka’s politics. While Congress has the absolute numbers to elect all its three candidates, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the strength to elect one member to the Rajya Sabha. However, it is the Janata Dal (Secular) that is in the danger zone as they need the support of Congress and other independent candidates to win their seat, said those familiar with the development.

Last week, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar mentioned that JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy had approached Congress MLAs (ANI)
Last week, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar mentioned that JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy had approached Congress MLAs (ANI)

JD(S) fielded real estate tycoon D Kupendra Reddy in the last minute after discussions with their counterpart BJP.

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ALSO READ- Karnataka Congress to check in all MLAs in city hotel ahead of RS polls

While the Congress has 135 MLAs and can win all three seats without a hurdle, BJP has 66 MLAs and will spend 45 votes on its candidate Narayana Bhandage. While BJP will be left with 21 votes and JDS has 19 votes, Reddy would need to struggle for five more votes.

With the election heat on in the state, Congress has decided to house all its MLAs in a Bengaluru-based hotel after Monday’s Assembly session until the Rajya Sabha voting.

Last week, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar mentioned that JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy had approached Congress MLAs on behalf of the “Fifth candidate of the JD(S)-BJP. I know who is contacting whom and how they are threatening. Our MLAs have told us about the offers they are receiving. We know what BJP and JDS are planning. We have our own strategy,” Shivakumar told the media.

ALSO READ- Firms in Karnataka need not display Kannadiga staff count: Shivakumar

On Saturday, state home minister G Parameshwara said, the party will prepare a list of MLAs to vote for each of their candidates.

“The party will prepare the list on Sunday. MLAs will have to follow that. We have received complaints from MLAs that the opposition is trying to poach them. Now, the state police intelligence is looking into it,” Parameshwara added.

Another minister Shivanand Patil also reacted to the possible cross-voting.

“Our vote won’t go anywhere. We are confident of winning all three seats. I have not been asked to go to any resort or hotel till now,” he said.

However, BJP has refuted Congress’ claims.

“We are not trying to poach any MLAs. We have the numbers to win the first candidate and the second candidate needs a few more votes. It is common to seek votes when anybody is a little short. We are not asking anybody to cross-vote. It seems like Congress MLAs do not have faith in their leadership. It shows a lack of leadership in Congress if they are fearing to lose votes,” said BJP spokesperson and former MLC, Ashwath Narayan Gowda.

He further questioned the integrity of chief minister Siddaramaiah. “Siddaramaiah has no right to talk about ethics. At least six to seven MLAs from JD(S) cross-voted for a Congress candidate in 2016. Siddaramaiah was behind it. What moral rights do they (Congress) have to blame us?”

ALSO READ- Congress can’t think beyond dynasty, corruption, appeasement: PM Modi

According to Congress party insiders, three independent MLAs and two MLAs from the BJP camp — ST Somashekhar and Shivaram Hebbar — who have already identified themselves with the Congress, are likely to support the Congress candidates in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Congress has fielded Ajay Maken, a central Congress leader; Nasir Hussain, AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge’s close confidant; and party loyalist GC Chandrashekhar.

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