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Updated: June 6, 2014 10:09 IST

Polls to Upper House expected to take politics to new levels

S. Rajendran
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M.C. Nanaiah
M.C. Nanaiah

The biennial elections to seven seats of the Legislative Council and four seats of the Rajya Sabha (from Karnataka) are expected to take politics to new levels in comparison with the previous elections to the Upper House. It is another matter though that political parties here, for over a decade, have enabled business leaders obtain the membership of the Upper House.

Surplus votes

More than activists of political parties and eminent persons, the names of probable candidates doing the rounds are largely of businessmen, jewellers, real estate developers and the like. And political party bosses speak of optimum use of the surplus votes (votes in excess of that required for getting a party candidate elected) available with the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular), although it is not the first time that parties have surplus votes.

The stress this time is on giving away the surplus votes for what is described in political circles as a “commercial proposition” rather than for preferring candidates who have made a contribution to the State apart from the political party concerned. The former Law Minister M.C. Nanaiah — known for his contribution to the Janata Dal and the State — who will be retiring from the Legislative Council on June 30, is not under consideration although several of the party activists and others are keen that he should be re-nominated.

The biennial elections have also brought to the fore the internal differences within the ruling Congress although it is being lightly dismissed by party leaders.

It is understood that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee G. Parameshwara are looking in different directions.

While Dr. Parameshwara is keen on contesting the Legislative Council elections, the Chief Minister wants him to be given ticket to contest the Rajya Sabha elections. The Chief Minister is keen that the KPCC president is kept away from the government.

Interestingly, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP are reported to have arrived at an understanding in their surplus votes being cast in favour of a candidate to be fielded for the Legislative Council, and the Congress and the JD(S) have identified a candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat. Both the candidates who will benefit from the surplus votes are into real estate business.

The problem is all the more in the Janata Dal (S), which has strength of 40 members in the Legislative Assembly. With a minimum of 28 votes required to get a candidate elected to the Council and 45 votes for the Rajya Sabha, the JD(S) is left with a surplus of at least 10 votes (for the Council) and does not have the requisite votes to get a party candidate elected to the Rajya Sabha.

While the KPCC president and the Chief Minister have been in New Delhi to finalise the Congress candidates, the BJP is expected to announce its candidates in two days while the Janata Dal (S) may make the announcement only a day ahead of the last day for filing the nomination papers — June 9. The elections will be held on June 19 and the results are expected the same day.

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