The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president H.D. Deve Gowda on Monday said that a final decision on a tie-up with the Congress for the coming Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls will be taken only after the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy elicits the opinion of the party legislators in the matter.
Responding to queries from presspersons on a possible understanding with Congress for the polls in the wake of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president R.V. Deshpande's visit to his house in Bangalore recently, Mr. Gowda said the Congress leader had called on him to greet him on his birthday. “We did not discuss Rajya Sabha polls,” Mr. Gowda said.
He, however, said that any decision on the matter would be taken only after Mr. Kumaraswamy, who is also the party's State unit President, obtains the views of the party legislators. “The party leadership will take a decision keeping the legislators' views in mind,” he said.
With four Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka — M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP), Oscar Fernandes and B.K. Hariprasad (Congress) and M.A.M. Ramaswamy (JD-S) — due to retire in June, elections to fill up the vacancies are scheduled for June 17.
Though the BJP has enough MLAs to ensure the election of two members, the Congress will be able to elect only one member on the basis of the strength of its members in the Assembly, leaving one seat open for the parties to stake claim.
When Mr. Deshpande called on Mr. Gowda at the latter's residence recently, speculation was rife that Congress was seeking the Janata Dal (Secular) support to bag two Rajya Sabha seats to re-elect Mr. Fernandes and Mr. Hariprasad. The Congress requires the support of the Janata Dal (Secular) to ensure the election of two of its nominees.
It may be mentioned here that Mr. Gowda had earlier declared that the party's national general secretary Danish Ali would be the party's candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections.
Janata Dal (Secular) sources told The Hindu that the Congress was willing to return the favour by paving the way for the election of one Janata Dal (Secular) nominee in the elections to the Legislative Council.
The Janata Dal (Secular) is also keen to nominate former BJP leader Basavaraj Patil Yatnal as its candidate in the elections to the Legislative Council.