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Congress, JD-S fail to reach deal on RS poll

The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) have failed to reach a deal on electing four Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka June 17, party leaders indicated today.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2010 20:44 IST

The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) have failed to reach a deal on electing four Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka June 17, party leaders indicated on Thursday.

The two parties were seeking an understanding to enable the Congress win two Rajya Sabha seats in return for it to support the JD-S to bag two of the seven seats in the state legislative council for which polls are due June 10.

With the collapse of talks, the JD-S on Thursday withdraw one of its two candidates from the state legislative council poll. With that, there will not be any need for polling as there are only seven candidates for the seven seats - four from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two from the Congress and one from the JD-S.

"Yes, we have withdrawn one of our candidates as the efforts for an understanding with the Congress failed," a JD-S spokesperson said.

The Congress, with 74 members in the 225-member state assembly, can win only one Rajya Sabha seat on its strength as a candidate requires 45 first preference votes to get elected. It needed the support of JD-S, which has 27 members, to bag the second seat.

Several state Congress leaders had opposed any understanding with the JD-S and wanted the party to contest only one Rajya Sabha seat and two council seats.

The opponents included Lok Sabha member from Mysore A.H. Vishwanath and leader of the Congress opposition party in the state council Motamma.

JD-S state president and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was authorised by his father and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda to hold talks with Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Reacting angrily to the Congress state leaders' opposition, Kumaraswamy said Wednesday: "The Congress should rein in its state leaders. We did not go to the Congress seeking an alliance. We were invited by the Congress central leaders for talks."

A Congress spokesperson said Thursday that the party central leaders will decide whether to field the second candidate to the Rajya Sabha or not. It has decided to re-nominate Oscar Fernandes for one seat.

Both Congress and JD-S declined to identify the issue that blocked an understanding.

However, there was speculation that the JD-S opposed the re-nomination of Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad for the second seat as he is said to have criticised Deve Gowda on several occasions.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP is assured of two Rajya Sabha seats as it has a strength of 122 members, including six independents, in the assembly.

BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu and state leader Ayanur Manjunath filed their nomination papers here Wednesday.

Though hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Naidu has been getting elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka for the last two terms. This will be his third term.

First Published: Jun 03, 2010 20:42 IST