With four candidates, including former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge in the fray for as many berths, the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka are all set to be a unanimous affair. The elections are scheduled for June 19.
Karnataka Legislative Assembly Secretary M K Vishalakshi, who is the returning officer for the polls, on Wednesday declared the candidature of Gowda and Kharge from JD(S) and Congress, and BJP's Iranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti as "validly nominated".
The papers of independent candidate Sangamesh Chikkanaragunda were rejected during scrutiny of nominations.
"With only four candidates, the election is all set to be unopposed and unanimous. Voting will not be required. It will be clear on the last date for withdrawal of candidature," official sources said.
June 12 is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.
Election is scheduled on June 19 to fill four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, represented by Rajeev Gowda and B K Hariprasad of Congress, Prabhakar Kore of BJP and D Kupendra Reddy of JD(S) that will fall vacant on June 25 with their retirement.
The BJP, with 117 members in the assembly (including Speaker), is in a position to ensure easy victory in two out of the four seats and the Congress, with 68 MLAs, in one.
The JD(S), which has 34 seats in the assembly and not in a position to win a seat in the Rajya Sabha on its own, has Congress' support with its surplus votes.
A minimum of 45 votes are required for a candidate to win.
However, voting will not be necessitated in this election as no party fielded any additional candidate against each other and limited their contest to the number of seats they can win, based on their strength in the assembly.
On getting elected, this will be the first stint in the Rajya Sabha for Kharge, who has always got elected directly by the people in his over four decade long political career.
Kharge, earlier popularly known as "Solillada Saradara", (a leader without defeat), faced his first electoral loss in his political life against BJP's Umesh Jadhav in Gulbarga by a margin of 95,452 votes during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
For 87-year-old Gowda, this will be the second Rajya Sabha entry, the first time being in 1996 as Prime Minister.
He faced defeat in Tumkur constituency against BJP's G S Basavaraj by over 13,000 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as he decided to contest at the last minute after vacating Hassan-his home turf, to grandson Prajwal Revanna (current MP).
For BJP's Iranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti, who are "low profile" compared to stalwarts Gowda and Kharge, this will be the first major break in their political careers. Both have an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) background and worked for the organisation at the grass root level for decades. ABVP is a student organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
BJP's central leadership had sprung a surprise by fielding Kadadi and Gasti as candidates, ignoring the recommendations of the party state unit.