The four candidates for the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka were declared elected unopposed on Friday. The state’s ruling party, the BJP are sending two new MPs to parliament – the relatively unknown Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti while former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda will be heading back to parliament backed by his party, the Janata Dal Secular.
The 87-year-old leader chose to stand after being assured the support of the Congress as his party’s votes alone would have been insufficient. The BJP also chose not to put forward a third candidate which helped to confirm Mr Gowda’s seat. This will be his second stint in the Rajya Sabha, the first time being in 1996 as Prime Minister.
Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge will be his party’s choice for the upper house. Speaking to NDTV after he was officially declared as elected, the 77-year-old leader said, “I am very grateful to Madam Sonia Gandhi ji and Rahul Gandhi ji who have given me this opportunity to serve in Rajya Sabha on behalf of the Congress party. I also pay my gratitude to the people of Karnataka who have given me a chance to serve a long time in parliament and assembly. I hope to live up to their expectations. I will highlight the problems of Karnataka and the country as a whole in parliament.”
Today was the last date for withdrawal of candidature for the biennial election to Rajya Sabha by elected members of Legislative Assembly.
Earlier, the BJP’s central leadership had rejected candidates suggested by the state unit, going with choices made by Delhi. The state unit had suggested names including Prabhahar Kore, Ramesh Katti and Prakash Shetty
Mr Yediyurappa told journalists he was pleased with the decision. He said, “The BJP central leadership, by giving the seat to ordinary party workers, has given a gift. I thank them. Perhaps the BJP is the only party which would take such a decision of giving this change to ordinary members.”
Mr Deve Gowda has said, “After my defeat in the Lok Sabha, I took a decision not to contest any more elections. The circumstances today – all the legislators of both the houses of my party took a unanimous decision that I must go to the Rajya Sabha. I had not accepted. But I agreed when Madam Sonia Gandhi said we were only waiting for your decision. That is why we only sent Kharge’s name.”
Polling was 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 the BJP and D Kupendra Reddy of JDS that will fall vacant on June 25, with their retirement.
The BJP, with 117 members in the assembly, including the speaker, was in a position to ensure easy victory in two out of four seats, while Congress with 68 MLAs in one.
The JDS, which has 34 seats in the assembly, was not in a position to win a seat in Rajya Sabha on its own, but had Congress’s support with its surplus votes.
A minimum of 45 votes were required for a candidate to win.
However, voting was not needed in this election, as no party fielded any additional candidate against each other, and limited their contest to the number of seats that they could win based on their strength in the assembly.
(With inputs from PTI)