Rajya Sabha polls: JD(S) accuses K’taka returning officer of favouring Congress

JD(S) leaders allege that the returning officer forced two Congress MLAs to change the names of the candidates on the ballot paper.
Rajya Sabha polls: JD(S) accuses K’taka returning officer of favouring Congress
Rajya Sabha polls: JD(S) accuses K’taka returning officer of favouring Congress
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With Rajya Sabha polls for four seats underway in Karnataka, JD(S) leader HD Revanna, Ramesh Babu and the party’s candidate BM Farooq have alleged the returning officer S Murthy is favouring the Congress.

The JD(S) leaders argued with the returning officer while claiming that two Congress leaders, who wrote the names of JD(S) candidate on the ballot paper, were made to rewrite the name of a Congress candidate.

Revanna and Farooq alleged that Gurmitkar MLA Baburao Chinchansur and Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa were forced to write names of Congress candidates on their ballot papers.

A video of JD(S) leaders arguing with the returning officer has surfaced. “The candidates showed the ballot paper to the returning officer. He told them to change the name. That’s why we have filed a complaint with the observer. This is favouritism,” Ramesh Babu is heard saying in the video.

Soon after, HD Revanna demanded that the voting be stopped. Polling was underway on Friday for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka.

Polling began at 9 am and ends at 4 pm. The counting will begin at 5 pm and the results are slated to be announced later in the evening.

Five candidates, including three from the ruling Congress and one each from the opposition BJP and JD-S contested for the four seats.

The Congress candidates are L Hanumanthaiah, GC Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain and BJP’s candidate is Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is seeking a second term, as his first term as an Independent member ends on April 2.

The election has been necessitated to fill the vacancies arising out of the retirement of incumbent members Basawaraj Patil, Rahman Khan and R Ramakrishna of the Congress and Chandrasekhar.

In the 225-member state legislative assembly, including one nominated, the Congress has 122 legislators, BJP 48 and JD(S) 37. Seven seats are vacant.

As each candidate needs 45 votes to win the contest, the Congress is in a position to get two of its nominees elected easily, while its third candidate with 37 votes, will have to get 13 more votes to make up for the shortfall.

With Rajeev Chandrashekar assured of victory by virtue of the BJP having 48 votes, the contest will be for the fourth seat between the Congress and JD-S, whose strength was reduced to 37 after 3 of its members were suspended for revolting against its leadership.

With seven rebel JD(S) MLAs voting for the third Congress candidate, along with five other independent candidates and 90 second choice votes, the Congress is hoping to win the third seat.

“We have finished voting and will tender our resignation to the JD(S) later this evening,” said Cheluvarayaswamy, one of the rebel JD(S) MLAs.

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