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Two outsiders sent to Rajya Sabha from State

By A. Jayaram

M. Venkaiah Naidu, BJP President, having a discussion with Shakuntala Hegde and Bharath Hegde during the Rajya Sabha election in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

BANGALORE, JUNE 28. The elections to the Rajya Sabha from the Legislative Assembly held today was, in short, the election of candidates from three of the four southern States — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

Besides the defeat of one of the two BJP candidates, Shakuntala Hegde, history of sorts was created today with the Assembly electing two candidates from outside the State to the Rajya Sabha. They were M. Venkaiah Naidu, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President, and the Chennai-based industrialist M.A.M. Ramaswamy, who was elected as a Janata Dal (Secular) candidate. For Ms. Hegde, it was her first try at electoral politics and it turned out to be unsuccessful.

It is perhaps for the first time that a candidate from Tamil Nadu has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from the State. Mr. Venkaiah Naidu was re-elected from the State. He was elected for the first time in 1996.

It was surprising to find some Congress party workers raising slogans against Mr. Naidu when he came to the election centre in the Vidhana Soudha on the ground that he was from outside the State, when the Janata Dal (Secular), the partner in the Government, too had done likewise. Factors other than a dearth of candidates dictated the decision taken by the Janata Dal (S), which had its own candidates from the State. The party had denied re-nomination to its former member of the Rajya Sabha, Javare Gowda. Dissensions erupted in a big way in the then Janata Party in 1986 over the issue of the party selecting a leader from outside the State, the noted lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani as the candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections. Mr. Jethmalani was the choice of the then Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde. H.D. Deve Gowda and his supporters in the party were sore over the selection of Mr. Jethmalani who was elected from the Assembly.

Later Ramakrishna Hegde was to unsuccessfully attempt at getting a Delhi-based businessman, Virendra Mohan Trehan, elected to the Rajya Sabha from the Assembly. That was in 1990.

It was the Congress that was the first to field leaders from outside the State for election to the Lok Sabha. In 1962, it got elected from Tumkur the former Union Minister for Food, Ajit Prasad Jain. In September 1978, Indira Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from Chikmagalur. Two years later, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, resigned his Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat to enable the former Union Minister for Communication, C.M. Stephen, get elected in a one-sided contest. Stephen was from Kerala.

Political leaders from Karnataka who have been elected from other States to the Lok Sabha include the well-known parliamentarian, H.V. Kamath from Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh; the Jan Sangh stalwart, Jagannatha Rao Joshi, also from Madhya Pradesh; the former Hyderabad State Minister G.S. Melkote, from Andhra Pradesh; and the former Defence Minister George Fernandes, from Bihar. It is of interest that both Joshi and Mr. Fernandes were defeated when they contested elections from Karnataka in 1977 and 1984, respectively.

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