Kharge is Congress’s RS nominee from Karnataka

Mallikarjun Kharge is among leaders who is expected to go to the Rajya Sabha.  

Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge was announced on Friday as the party’s official candidate from Karnataka in the coming Raja Sabha elections.

Elections to four seats in the State are scheduled on June 19 as the terms of M.V. Rajeev Gowda, B.K. Hariprasad (Congress), Prabhakar Kore (BJP) and D. Kupendra Reddy (JD-S) end on June 25. Of them, the ruling party can win two .

The election could bring old allies, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), together once again.

With 44 first preference votes required to elect Mr. Kharge, the Congress would be left with 24 surplus votes in the election. Soit may support former Prime Minister and JD (S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda if it gets support from the JD(S) in elections to seven seats of the Legislative Council later this month.

The JD(S) needs 10 extra votes to send Mr. Gowda to the Upper House as the party has only 34 members in the Assembly.

The Congress’s choice of its Rajya Sabha nominee will also change the internal dynamics of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) that will now be headed by D.K. Shivakumar.

With a Rajya Sabha berth, Mr. Kharge, currently general secretary in charge of party affairs in Maharashtra where the Congress shares power with the Shiv Sena and the NCP, will make a return to the national politics and is expected to add heft to the Congress benches in Parliament.

The former leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha lost to BJP’s Umesh Jadhav from the Kalaburagi constituency in the 2019 general election.

Sonia’s decision

Party insiders in Karnataka said though their former chief Rahul Gandhi had a younger candidate his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi decided on Mr. Kharge because of his parliamentary experience.

Also, Mr. Kharge’s Rajya Sabha nomination will help the Congress manage a delicate power balance between Mr. Shivakumar and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, who had emerged as the tallest party leader during his chief ministership.

In fact, a couple of recent meetings between Mr. Shivakumar and Mr. Kharge had given rise to speculation that the two may have come together to keep Mr. Siddaramaiah under check. But officially, Mr. Kharge has been supported by all camps in the Karnataka Congress.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 5:12:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-fields-mallikarjun-kharge-in-rs-polls/article31756581.ece

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