Rajya Sabha polls: Congress, JD(S) likely to come together once again

JD(S) sources said many feel the likes of H.D. Deve Gowda (in picture) and M. Mallikarjun Kharge should be in Parliament. File   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The Congress and Janata Dal (S), which severed ties after their poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, are likely to forge ties once again in the elections to four Rajya Sabha seats, scheduled to be held on June 19.

Though nearly half a dozen senior leaders, including former MPs and retiring Rajya Sabha members, are lobbying hard for ticket to enter the Upper House, sources in the Congress indicated that the party was considering the candidature of veteran leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge, given his vast parliamentary experience.

The JD(S) seems to be banking on the support of the Congress if it fields a candidate. Apparently, “talks are under way” in the Congress to extend support to former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda, on the condition that the JD(S) agrees to extend its support to the party in the elections to seven seats of the Legislative Council from the Assembly, also scheduled to be held this month. The alliance is likely to be limited only to these two elections.

With its 68 members in the Legislative Assembly, the Congress could easily ensure the victory of one candidate. The minimum required votes to win for each candidate is 44. With its 34 members, the JD(S) is short by 10 votes. Given this scenario, the JD(S) is expected to seek the support of the Congress, which will be left with 24 surplus votes if it fields only one candidate.

Besides Mr. Kharge, sources said, former MPs such as S.P. Muddahanume Gowda, M. Veerappa Moily, K.H. Muniyappa, as well as M.V. Rajeev Gowda and B.K. Hariprasad, who are set to retire on June 25, are lobbying with the party high command.

Mr. Muddahanume Gowda “sacrificed” his seat to Mr. Deve Gowda in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Tumakuru. Apparently, former Congress national president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal had promised him that he would be given the Rajya Sabha ticket.

Mr. Deve Gowda, who left his traditional stronghold of Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna in last year’s Assembly polls, had contested from Tumakuru and lost.

Council polls

In the elections to seven seats of the Legislative Council, the BJP has the strength to ensure victory of four candidates, while the Congress and JD(S) can ensure the victory of two and one candidates, respectively.

The Congress and JD(S) are likely to swap support in the RS and Council polls. If they support each other, the Congress can bag three seats in the Council. In such a scenario, T.A. Sharavana, JD(S) MLC, will not get ticket to retain his seat in the Council.

The term of seven MLCs will end on June 30 and the Election Commission is expected to announce the calendar of events soon.

No third candidate from BJP?

With its 117 Assembly members, including Speaker, the ruling BJP has enough strength to ensure the victory of its two candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections. The BJP might field a third candidate only if the Congress and JD(S) do not field M. Mallikarjun Kharge and H.D. Deve Gowda, respectively, sources said.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 7:48:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rajya-sabha-polls-congress-jds-likely-to-come-together-once-again/article31733924.ece

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