Senior leaders in Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) are learnt to be communicating with each other to clear the confusion that has emerged over fielding of candidates for the fourth seat in the Rajya Sabha. While both parties are flagging the secular tag to bring pressure on the other to get their candidates withdraw from the fray, JD(S) leaders are learnt to be in touch with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, seeking the withdrawal of the Congress candidate.
JD(S) sources said that their leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has been in touch with Mr. Kharge over the issue, and that they were hopeful that the Congress candidate would withdraw in favour of the JD(S) candidate. The communication between the leaders was also confirmed by sources in the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Friday is the last day for withdrawing of nominations.
While the BJP and Congress are set to win two and one seats respectively in the elections slated to be held on June 10, the election to fourth seat has turned out to be interesting with Lahar Singh Siroya (BJP), Mansoor Ali Khan (Congress) and Kupendra Reddy (JD-S) filing nominations. Though the current line up gives an edge to the BJP, the situation could change if one of the Opposition candidates withdraws in favour of the other. Citing secular credentials, both Congress and JD(S) are insisting that the other candidate withdraw to prevent the BJP from taking away the third seat too. The JD(S) has stated that it will not withdraw its candidate.
Congress sources confirmed that efforts are on to find a solution, and that the JD(S) leaders were communicating with the AICC leaders through Mr. Kharge. Sources also said that JD(S) candidate Kupendra Reddy has also spoken to Mr. Kharge on the matter, and that a final decision on whether to withdraw the candidate or not will be taken by national leaders. “Though the idea of fielding the second candidate came from Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, it was the party’s decision to field one. If the party, considering various political calculations, decides to withdraw its candidate, it will be the party decision too,” sources explained.
The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who has gone to Singapore for a medical check up, is also expected to return to India on Friday. “We are also not sure about the strategy he will adopt in this issue,” party sources said.