RS polls: With three candidates in fray for fourth seat, it’s a cliffhanger

The election to the fourth Rajya Sabha seat could become a cliffhanger for candidates of the three political parties as back channel talks between the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) to withdraw Congress candidate from the fray failed, raising fears of cross voting.

With Friday being the last date for withdrawal of nominations for the elections to be held on June 10, none of the three candidates withdrew from the race, much against speculations over some understanding between Congress and JD(S). In a last ditch attempt, JD(S) leaders had communicated to Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge to convince the Congress high command to withdraw their second candidate Mansoor Ali Khan from the race. Mr. Khan is now pitted against Lahar Singh Siroya of BJP and Kupendra Reddy of JD(S).

The JD(S) and Congress were seeking each others candidate to withdraw to ensure victory of an Opposition candidate, the BJP seems to have an edge in the present scenario, political observers believe. In the three other seats, BJP’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and film actor Jaggesh, and Congress’s senior leader Jairam Ramesh are set to win.

Congress issues whip

Meanwhile, Congress on Friday issued a whip to all its MLAs to vote for the party’s candidates in elections scheduled between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on June 10. Speaking to reporters here, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said that the party will urge legislators to cast their vote as per their conscience. “I cannot tell you now who will vote for us,” he said, indicating possibilities of cross voting like in the past. Asked if Congress candidate has enough numbers to win, he asked, “Does the BJP or JD(S) have the numbers? We have our votes intact.”

In 2016 Rajya Sabha elections, seven JD(S) legislators had voted for Congress candidate, violating the party whip.

The JD(S), which is struggling to secure victory to its candidate Mr. Reddy, is still hoping that the second Congress candidate could step aside from the fray while stating that the party will neither support BJP nor seek its support for its candidate.

On Friday, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who was in Singapore for health check up, returned to India.

Kupendra Reddy is richest

Among the six candidates in fray for four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, JD(S) candidate Kupendra Reddy has declared family assets worth ₹816 crore, including ₹417 crore movable assets, and liabilities of ₹109.25 crore.

He is followed by BJP candidate Lahar Singh Siroya with a declared family assets of ₹78.8 crore, including movable assets worth ₹24.30 crore, and liabilities of ₹93 lakh. Congress’s Mansoor Ali Khan has declared assets worth ₹ 58.05 crore, including movable assets worth ₹ 13.16 crore, and liabilities of ₹ 3.95 crore. BJP candidate and Kannada film actor Jaggesh has declared assets worth ₹22.81 crore, including movable assets of ₹5.06 crore. He has liabilities of ₹2.96 crore.

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has declared her assets worth ₹2.50 crore, including movable assets of ₹63 lakh. She has declared her husband Parakala Prabhakar’s assets as “not known.” She also owns a Bajaj Chetak and has liabilities of ₹30.44 lakh. Former Union Minister and Congress candidate Jairam Ramesh has declared assets worth ₹4.56 crore and liabilities of ₹35.4 lakh.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2022 7:25:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rs-polls-with-three-candidates-in-fray-for-fourth-seat-its-a-cliffhanger/article65492005.ece