Political Diary Columns

Congress unlikely to heed to JD(S) request for an Rajya Sabha seat

H.D. Kumaraswamy

H.D. Kumaraswamy  

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Janata Dal (Secular) keen on getting businessman B.M. Farooq elected to the Rajya Sabha

The Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka, in a way, has bowled a googly to the Congress in seeking the latter’s support for its candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections, and the reaction of the latter, if any, is expected to set the stage for a new political equation.

It is another matter that this statement of the JD(S) has been put in the public domain straightaway and not through political channels, which in itself speaks about the seriousness of the party in its pursuit to win a seat in the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha, scheduled to be gone through on March 23.

The JD(S) is keen on getting B.M. Farooq elected to the Rajya Sabha. Mr. Farooq was the JD(S) candidate in the last elections to the Rajya Sabha and had lost by a whisker after seven of the party legislators voted against him, resulting in their expulsion from the party.

The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has called upon the Congress leadership to extend support in the Rajya Sabha elections in return for a post-poll alliance in the event of a hung Assembly. The JD(S) has opted for a Muslim candidate and should the Congress refuse to give its support then the JD(S) will obviously go public and state that the national party is not in favour of a minority candidate.

That Mr. Farooq is a rich businessman is known and that is primarily the reason for the JD(S) leadership preferring his candidature to that of Danish Ali, secretary general of the JD(S) who has been seeking a Rajya Sabha ticket for long. Of the original strength of 40 in the Legislative Assembly, the JD(S) presently has a command over 30 members — with seven of its members having been expelled, two others have resigned and yet another is deceased. For a victory, a candidate requires 45 votes, and the JD(S) is short of 15 votes.

If the last elections to the Rajya Sabha (held in 2016) is taken into consideration, there is no requirement for the Congress leadership to heed to the request of the JD(S). The Congress fielded K.C. Ramamurthy (former IPS officer) as the third candidate and he emerged victorious with a comfortable margin thanks to the support he enlisted from the seven JD(S) legislators, among others. The same arithmetic will hold good in the present round of elections as well and the Congress has played a neat game with all the expelled and resigned legislators continuing to remain members of the Legislative Assembly since all the letters (either from the members or from the party concerned) are pending before the Speaker.

The Congress has an upper hand on two counts — given the good response that president of the All India Congress Committee Rahul Gandhi has received during his last two tours of the State, possibility of a hung Assembly is remote. Further, the party can comfortably field a third candidate and leave it to that candidate to garner the required votes. Hence, it may not consider any request for support in the Rajya Sabha elections, more so, with an eye on forming the next government in the State.

(The writer is Resident Representative, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Bengaluru)

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 2:36:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/congress-unlikely-to-heed-to-jds-request-for-an-rajya-sabha-seat/article22913257.ece

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