RS poll: Undecided Deve Gowda keeps Congress guessing

Bengaluru, June 7 (IANS) An undecided Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda is keeping an eager Congress guessing if he would contest in the June 19 Rajya Sabha biennial elections in Karnataka and seek its support.
“The JD-S is yet to approach us formally. We will extend support to Deve Gowda if he contests in the ensuing Rajya Sabha bypoll, as he is a former Prime Minister and tallest political leader in the state,” Congress state spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here on Sunday.
With 68 legislators in the 225-member Assembly, the opposition Congress will have 24 surplus votes to spare after ensuring the victory of its senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is contesting for one of the 4 seats from the state and requires 44 votes to win.
Kharge, 77, will file his nomination on Monday at the Vidhan Soudha in the presence of top state leaders, including its state President D.K. Shivakumar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, former Home Minister G. Parameshwar and party’s leader in the council S.K. Patil.
If Deve Gowda contests, he will require 10 votes from the Congress as the JD-S has 34 members, who are keen to send him to the Upper House.
“The party leadership is yet to decide on Deve Gowda’s candidature. He is undecided as he is reluctant to take the Congress’ help, as it would amount to entering the Rajya Sabha through back door, which he does not want,” a JD-S source told IANS.
Though sitting JD-S member Kupendra Reddy’s term ends on June 25, he is unlikely to be renominated, as the party is short of 10 votes to win on his own.
Besides Reddy, B.K. Hariprasad and Rajeev Gowda of the Congress and Prabhakar Kore of the ruling BJP are the three other members retiring from the Rajya Sabha on June 25, necessitating the biennial elections.
The BJP’s core selection committee has shortlisted Kore for the third term along with its former Lok Sabha member Ramesh Katti and party member and leading hotelier Prakash Shetty to contest two or three seats.
The results will be declared after voting on June 19.
Deve Gowda, 87, lost in the May 2019 general elections from Tumkur to G.S. Basvaraj of the BJP, though his grandson Prajwal Gowda won from the JD-S bastion Hassan, defeating A. Manju of the BJP.
Of the 12 Rayja Sabha seats from the southern state, the BJP has three members – Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, industrialist Rajeev Chandrashekhar and noted educationist K.C. Ramamurthy, who defected from the Congress and got re-elected unopposed on December 5, 2019 as a BJP nominee, as his term is till June 2022.
The Congress has 5 members in the Upper House from the state – Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh, Syed Naseer Hussain, L.Hanumanthaiah and G.C. Chandrashekar.
Kharge and Hariprasad lost in the May 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Gulabarga (reserved) and Bangalore South seats to the BJP’s Umesh Yadav and Tejasvi Surya.

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