Rajya Sabha Polls held

Rajya Sabha Polls held

June 10, 2022
  • Nirmala Sitharaman and Jaggesh of BJP; Jairam Ramesh of Congress all set to win
  • Suspense over fourth seat to end this evening

Bengaluru: As expected, two candidates of the ruling BJP — Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and actor Jaggesh and one from the Opposition Congress — former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh — are certain to win the crucial Rajya Sabha (RS) polls from Karnataka, the voting for which began at Vidhana Soudha here this morning.

A total of six candidates were in the fray for four RS seats. While BJP re-nominated sitting member Nirmala Sitharaman for one seat, it sprang a surprise by choosing popular Kannada actor-turned-politician Jaggesh for the second  seat, which the party could win comfortably in the first preferential votes, with the strength of numbers it has in the Legislative Assembly.

Congress re-nominated Jai-ram Ramesh for second time while JD(S) fielded former RS MP Kupendra Reddy in a bid to win the fourth seat. Congress too took a chance for bagging the fourth seat by fielding Mansoor Ali Khan, son of former Union Minister K. Rahman Khan.

Taking advantage of being the ruling party, BJP fielded Lehar Singh Siroya, a former MLC, for its third seat, in anticipation of support from Legislators of Opposition parties through their second preferential vote.

While Sitharaman bagged  46 votes, Jaggesh secured  44 and Jairam Ramesh 46. Jaggesh, who was elected as an MLA from Turuvekere in 2008 on a Congress ticket, had resigned from the party and joined BJP.

The polling, which began at 9 am, will conclude at 4 pm, following which the results will be officially declared later in the evening. The voters to the Rajya Sabha are the members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), who are 224 in number.

Though the Congress and JD(S) jointly stood a chance to win the fourth seat through a quid-pro-quo arrangement in respect of second preferential vote of MLAs of the two parties combined, the continued bitter rivalry between Opposition leader Siddharamaiah and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, seems to have deprived the opposition of another Rajya Sabha seat.

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The JD(S), which has 32 MLAs, does not have the number to win a seat on its own numbers, but its support in the form of second preferential vote is crucial in the contest for the fourth seat. JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda had met senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and other top brass of the Congress, as part of an effort to field a consensus candidate, but it did not materialise.

Even as the war of words continued between Siddharamaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy, Siddharamaiah is said to have written an open letter to JD(S) MLAs a couple of days ago appealing them to cast their ‘Conscience Vote’ in favour of Congress party’s second candidate Mansoor Ali Khan.

On the other hand, Kumaraswamy had appealed the Congress leaders to withdraw their candidate (Mansoor Khan) and support JD(S) candidate Kupendra Reddy in order to defeat the BJP. However, as per the latest trend, the BJP’s third candidate Lehar Singh Siroya appears to scrape through in a keenly contested fourth seat.

Meanwhile, the JD(S), which is facing dissent  within, suffered a setback as two of its legislators defied the party whip. While Kolar JD(S) MLA K. Srinivas Gowda openly said he had voted for the Congress candidate, Gubbi MLA S.R. Srinivas (Vasu) is likely to skip voting, it is learnt.

As fears of cross voting gripped  the ruling BJP and opposition Congress and JD(S), all the three parties had issued a whip to their respective MLAs to cast their votes only in favour of the party candidate.


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