Liquor baron and former MP Vijay Mallya is all set to be elected to the Rajya Sabha as an independent once again thanks to the support he has received from the Janata Dal (Secular), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well, which has a big chunk of surplus votes.

In all likelihood, Mr. Mallya is expected to poll more votes than the official candidates of the BJP and the Congress, as in 2002 when he polled 51 votes while the requirement for a victory was 45 of the first preference votes. The others who are set to be elected are senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu , former MP Ayanur Manjunath and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes. .

PTI adds

BJP has convened its legislature party meet tomorrow to discuss its strategy for the Rajya Sabha polls.

The party has fielded its senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, for the third successive term and State unit spokesman Ayanur Manjunath, who had sacrificed his claim for Shimoga Lok Sabha seat last year in favour of Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa’s son B. Y. Raghavendra.

The sources said the BJP would issue a whip to its MLAs.

Congress which is staking claim for the second seat has fielded senior leader T. V. Maruthi, besides former union minister Oscar Fernandes.

KPCC President R. V. Deshpande told reporters that the party’s strategy for Rajya Sabha election would be firmed up at its legislature party meeting tomorrow.

Y. S. V. Datta, JD-S spokesman said, “We will not issue whip. But our MLAs will go in a group and cast their votes.”

Against the backdrop of Mr. Mallya getting BJP support, Congress has to be content with the victory of Oscar Fernandes and does not appear to be in a position to drum up support for Maruthi. The ruling BJP, however, is in a position to ensure facile victory of Naidu and Manjunath.

In the 224-member Assembly, BJP has 116 members, Congress 74, JD-S 27 and Independents six. One seat is vacant.