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RS polls: Suspense on fourth seat continues- Mrit News

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None of the three parties has the requisite number of votes to win the fourth seat from Karnataka

None of the three parties has the requisite number of votes to win the fourth seat from Karnataka

The suspense over the move of political parties on the fourth seat for the election to the Rajya Sabha from the State continues to be intense even as the BJP on Sunday announced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and actor Jaggesh as its candidates while the Congress announced the candidature of Jairam Ramesh.

While none of the three parties has the requisite number of votes to win the fourth seat, the Janata Dal (Secular) has announced that it will field its candidate while the BJP and the Congress are learnt to be still weighing options. The last date for filing of nomination is Tuesday.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said the party central leadership would take a call on fielding the third candidate since the party had enough strength to win only two seats. “None of the parties can win on their own. We are also watching what other parties are doing regarding the fourth seat. We have informed the high command about the developments.” BJP sources said that a Bengaluru-based businessman is being tipped to be the party’s third nominee.

The election is being held as Ms. Sitharaman, Mr. Ramesh, and BJP member K.C. Ramamurthy are retiring and another seat is lying vacant due to the death of Congress leader Oscar Fernandes. The election is scheduled for June 10.

JD(S) sources said its former Rajya Sabha member Kupendra Reddy could be the party’s nominee or he may be asked to contest as a JD(S)-backed Independent candidate. With 32 members in the Legislative Assembly, the party is short of 13 votes to ensure its candidate’s victory. “Mr. Reddy has a good relationship with the Congress central leadership and the onus will be on him to secure the support,” sources said. On Sunday, Mr. Reddy met KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar to discuss the issue, sources said.

The Congress, party sources said, was also planning to field a second candidate to force an election, but is still undecided. “A Muslim candidate is being discussed as the party’s second candidate to counter the JD(S) move. If the BJP fields its third candidate, then the competition becomes intense.”

The Congress, with 70 members, including an Independent, has 25 votes in excess after ensuring the victory of its candidate. Each candidate has to secure 45 votes as per a formula devised to elect members of the Rajya Sabha from the Legislative Assembly.

It is learnt that several old guards in the Congress are trying to pressure their leadership to field a loyal party worker as its second candidate in a bid to prevent scope for horse-trading by way of any businessman contesting as its second candidate or it being pushed to a piquant situation of supporting the JD(S) candidate to prove its secular credentials.

Mr. Ramesh amid murmurs in the party against nominating a non-Kannadiga for the election, is expected to file his nomination for the seat that the Congress is capable of winning.

Meanwhile, if the election becomes necessary, political parties fear that there could be a threat of cross-voting though the voting is through an open ballot since all the parties are facing some kind of dissidence in their ranks. This is especially so in the election year when parties could be expecting several of its members to cross over to other parties due to local political reasons.

“With none of the parties in a position to secure victory to their candidate for the fourth seat, there is a fear of cross-voting and even horse-trading if there is an election,” said JD(S) Legislature Party deputy leader Bandeppa Kashempur. “There have been enough instances in the recent past in the elections to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council where official candidate has lost due to such cross-voting,” he said, pointing to JD(S) legislators cross-voting in the 2016 Rajya Sabha polls, resulting in the defeat of the party’s official candidate B.M. Farooq.

A Congress leader also concurred that it is possible that there could be cross-voting and horse-trading because no one has the required strength.

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