Udupi-Chikmagalur bypoll will kick-start election fever

It is not just the byelection to the Lok Sabha from the Udupi-Chikmagalur Constituency scheduled for March 18 that is just around the corner. The State is programmed to go on an election spree in the first half of the year what with elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from the State and 17 Legislative Council seats scheduled in the next four months.

At present, the political parties are in the process of identifying candidates for the byelection to the Lok Sabha seat. The last date for filing nominations is February 29.

Barely would the bypoll be over in March than the political parties will be confronted with the task of searching suitable candidates for the Rajya Sabha seats.

The term of four Rajya Sabha members — actor Hema Malini and K.B. Shanappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan of the Congress and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Independent — representing the State, comes to an end on April 2, 2012.

The Election Commission is expected to announce elections to the four seats soon, along with other Rajya Sabha seats in other States. Given the strength of the BJP (120) in the Legislative Assembly, the ruling party is hopeful of bagging at least two seats. Each candidate has to bag 45 votes to win.

The Congress, with a 71-member strength, appears certain to win at least one seat. The fourth will be up for grabs as the Janata Dal (Secular), which has 26 members, does not have the requisite numbers. However, an electoral tie-up with other parties may help it secure the fourth seat.

Council seats

The next round of elections will be for the Legislative Council seats from the Legislative Assembly, Graduates and Teachers' constituencies. Though the tenure of 20 MLCs would come to end before June 21, 2012, three of them will be nominated by the Government while elections will be held for the remaining 17 seats.

The term of three nominated members Y.S.V. Datta of the JD(S) (nominated by H.D. Kumaraswamy Government), actor Srinath and N. Thippanna, both BJP, expires on May 20. It is interesting see whether they will be re-nominated.

The terms of Abdul Azeem, S. Chikkamadu, H.C. Neeravari (all JD-S); K.C. Kondaiah, Quazi Arshad Ali, Motamma, V.R. Sudarshan (all Congress); and G. Janardhan Reddy, Tontadaraya, Vimala Gowda, D.S. Veeraiah (BJP), come to a close on June 17. These eleven members were elected to the Legislative Council from the Legislative Assembly constituencies.

The term of three members elected to the Legislative Council from graduates' constituencies and three members from teachers' constituencies will also end on June 21. Manohar Maski, Council Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy and Planning Board Deputy Chairman Ramachandra Gowda (all BJP) were elected from the graduates constituency while Ganesh Karthik of the BJP, Y.A. Narayanaswamy and Marithibbe Gowda, Independents, were elected from the teachers' constituencies last time. They are all expected to contest the polls again.

Grant-in aid

Keeping an eye on elections from teachers' constituencies, the Government had recently announced it would provide grant-in-aid to 950 private Kannada-medium schools established during 1991-95.

But, will the Legislative Council elections be the last that the State will see in the near future? Unlikely, as elections to the next Legislative Assembly is scheduled for April-May 2013, so it will be poll-mode yet again.

  • Term of four Rajya Sabha members representing the State ends on April 2

  • Tenure of 20 MLCs end by June 21