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RS polls: JD(S) offers exchange of second preference votes to Congress – Mrit News

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Former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday offered to trade the party’s second preference votes with the Congress in the coming Rajya Sabha polls in a bid to defeat the BJP’s third candidate.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Mr. Kumaraswamy said JD(S) was ready to cast its 32 second preference votes in favour of the Congress’s second candidate Mansoor Ali Khan if the latter pledges its 24 second preference votes for JD(S) candidate Kupendra Reddy.

He revealed that the Congress’s general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala spoke to him on June 2 and sought the JD(S) support for their second candidate. The offer has already been passed on to Mr. Surjewala, who promised to send an emissary to discuss the matter. “But, nobody has come yet,” he said.

“If the main agenda of the Congress is to defeat the BJP, let them accept our offer and prove their secular credentials,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said.

Rejecting Mr. Siddaramaiah’s call for withdrawal of the JD(S) candidate from the Rajya Sabha poll fray, Mr. Kumaraswamy said he understood the Congress too will find it difficult to withdraw its second candidate even though the latter is staring at the prospect of elimination in the counting. “The best formula would be to trade the second preference votes and give the JD(S) candidate a chance,” Mr. Kumaraswamy claimed.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had spoken to All-India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Sonia Gandhi for the party’s support even before fielding JD(S) candidate. Similarly, Mr. Kumaraswamy said he had also spoken to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar over phone when Mr. Reddy called on him seeking the party’s support.

While most Congress leaders were ready to accept the offer, Mr. Siddaramaiah was not in favour, Mr. Kumaraswamy claimed.

If the Congress was serious about defeating the BJP, the Congress could have discussed the matter with the JD(S) before fielding its candidate. “The Congress did not approach us with any request not to field a candidate before we announced our candidate. So, Mr. Deve Gowda contacted Ms. Gandhi and sought the support of their 24 surplus votes for our candidate,” he said.

He claimed that the Congress leaders in the State decided to field a second candidate by convincing their party’s central leaders that they will ensure cross-voting by 8 to 10 JD (S) legislators. Also, the BJP would not have fielded its third candidate Lehar Singh if the Congress had not nominated a second candidate, the JD(S) leader claimed.

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