As Rajya Sabha elections for candidates from Karnataka are slated to be held on June 19, the Congress and JD(S) are mulling an alliance in order to secure two seats in the upper house of the Parliament. The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar, who is close to the JD(S) first family, is likely to help the JD(S) elect a representative to the upper house. In exchange, the Congress will support the JD(S) in the Karnataka Legislative Council Elections, which are slated to be held on June 25.
The JD(S) does not plan for its supremo HD Deve Gowda to be nominated. Instead, party leader Muddahanume Gowda, who gave up his Lok Sabha ticket in Tumakuru for Deve Gowda, is likely to be fielded.
The Congress, too has several aspirants for the lone seat but the party is likely to field Mallikarjun Kharge, who has experience in Delhi’s politics and has served as Leader of Opposition for the Congress in the Lok Sabha. Other Congress leaders who are retiring from Rajya Sabha, including BK Hariprasad and MV Rajeev Gowda, along with former MPs Veerappa Moily and KH Muniyappa, are also aspiring to be re-elected.
The BJP, which can elect two representatives to the upper house of the Parliament is still mulling over names. BJP sources say Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, wife of former Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who missed out on the Bengaluru South ticket to incumbent MP Tejasvi Surya, is a front runner. The party is also mulling over holding talks with Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys Foundation and wife of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, regarding nominating her to the upper house.
The recent dissent in the BJP erupted largely due to BJP MLA from Hukkeri Umesh Katti demanding that his brother Ramesh Katti be elected to the Upper House. Umesh, who is a close confidante of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and also a senior leader, was kept out of the cabinet. However, his detractor, Prabhakar Kore, who is close to the high command, is also trying to retain his seat in the Rajya Sabha and get re-elected.
Even during the Lok Sabha elections, the party had fielded Annasaheb Jolle from Chikkodi instead of Ramesh Katti, who was an aspirant for the ticket back then. “Though Sudha Murthy’s name is doing the rounds, it is unlikely as Tejaswini Ananth Kumar is a stronger candidate and she is acquainted with the way the party functions,” a BJP leader said.
The BJP has 117 seats in the Assembly and the Congress and JD(S) have 68 and 34 seats respectively. To elect a candidate, one requires 44 votes. The BJP can elect two members, while the Congress can elect only one and the JD(S) cannot elect anyone, as it is short by 10 votes. If an alliance is formed, Congress hopes to bank on extra 24 votes and bag one more seat for the alliance.
Seven seats in the Karnataka Legislative Council will be vacant on June 30 and the Election Commission is expected to announce the dates for election soon. The BJP can elect four members while the Congress and JD(S) can elect two and one members respectively. By helping the Congress in winning three MLC seats, the JD(S) hopes to gain support for electing its candidate to Rajya Sabha, sources added.