A keen contest is on the cards for the Rajya Sabha elections on Friday, especially between Congress third candidate G C Chandrashekar and B M Farookh of the JD(S).
While the Congress is confident of support from the JD(S) rebel MLAs, it is jittery about cross-voting by its own legislators. Farookh is said to have approached six of the eight independents, seeking their support.
Members of the Legislative Assembly form the electoral college for the Rajya Sabha elections. A candidate requires about 44 votes to win the election. In the Assembly, the Congress has 123 MLAs and can easily win two seats (its first two candidates are Nasiz Ahmed and L Hanumanathaiah respectively), but will fall short of nine votes for its third candidate (G C Chandrashekar).
The Congress is banking on the seven JD(S) rebels and the support of B R Patil (KJP) and Ashok Kheny (who joined the Congress recently) to make up for the shortfall. With the Karnataka High Court not passing any orders on the PIL seeking disqualification of rebel JD(S) MLAs, they are likely to exercise their franchise.
The BJP, with 46 MLAs (including the support of two BSR Congress legislators and one KJP member), can get its nominee (Rajeev Chandrashekar) elected easily.
All three parties have issued whips to their MLAs.
The JD(S) has just 30 MLAs on its side. However, the JD(S) is trying to make it difficult for the Congress. the JD(S) is learnt to be in touch with six independent MLAs – Sambhaji Lakshman Patil, Aravind Chandrakanth Patil, Satish Sail, Mankala Subba Vaidya, S N Subbareddy and G Manjunath. Another independent MLA Varthur Prakash has floated his own party.
Besides, there are chances of cross-voting in the Congress camp itself. All is not well in the party. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is an unhappy man. His party high command chose to ignore the names proposed by him. Chandrashekar is a close follower of KPCC president G Parameshwara. It is no secret that Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara do not see eye-to-eye.
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