It's a scramble with standard operating procedure: resort politics

Rajya Sabha polls Horse-trading and bad eggs here whats happening in Karnataka
news Politics Tuesday, June 07, 2016 - 16:50

A week before 57 seats to the Rajya Sabha go to the polls, the drama began. Two television news channels (Times Now and India Today) conducted sting operations showing some of Karnataka’s MLAs allegedly being bribed by Congress leaders – votes for constituency funds. Now, the Election Commission is considering rescheduling the polls. 

The Rajya Sabha elections are crucial for both the BJP and the Congress – the former needs to notch up a higher tally in the Upper House to push through bills while the latter has to keep up its image. With four seats from Congress-ruled Karnataka, the state is especially crucial for the Congress.

Who’s in the fray

The Congress has fielded two candidates who are certain to win and risked a third. Congress is fielding Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh and former IPS officer and educationist KC Ramamurthy.

After a Twitter hullabaloo over the BJP fielding Venkaiah Naidu yet again from Karnataka, the BJP changed its choice to Nirmala Sitharaman

Janata Dal (Secular)’s choice of businessman BM Farooq has raised eyebrows as he is the wealthiest candidate in the fray.

Who will get the numbers?

BJP has 43 Assembly seats and can ensure that Nirmala Sitharaman goes to the Upper House from Karnataka.

For the Congress, matters are not so straightforward. With 123 out of the total 224 seats in the Karnataka Assembly, Congress can easily obtain 45 first-preference votes each for two candidates. It will be a scramble for the third one.

Around 22 votes – of MLAs from smaller parties and independents – are being sought after with the standard operating procedure: horse trading and resort politics.

The Congress has been accused of whisking off 14 independents to Mumbai in order to inspire their votes towards the raised hand. This has got JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy’s goat. Initially, he was confident that the party had the support of 10 MLAs to make Farooq win, but some of them have now changed their mind and are likely to vote for the Congress.

DK Shivakumar, known as Congress’ Amit Shah, was confident that his party would be backed by all except two of the 16 independents.

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