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JD(S) MLAs unanimously want Deve Gowda to contest for Rajya Sabha

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Bengaluru, June 05: JD(S) legislators are of the unanimous opinion that party supremo H D Deve Gowda should contest Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for June 19, his son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Friday.

He said the party legislators also feel that Congress and BJP are not likely to field candidates for one seat, if Gowda contests.

Deve Gowda

The four seats of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka represented by Rajeev Gowda and B K Hariprasad of Congress, Prabhakar Kore of BJP and D Kupendra Reddy of JD(S) will fall vacant on June 25 with their retirement.

"It is the unanimous pressure from all the legislators that Deve Gowda has to contest from the party, keeping in mind today's situation, but Deve Gowda has so far not expressed any interest to contest Rajya Sabha polls or has agreed for it till this movement," Kumaraswamy said.

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    Speaking to reporters after JD(S) legislature party meeting here, he said, but our legislators considering his service and experience, feel that it is necessary for Deve Gowda to go to Rajya Sabha, given the situation that exists in the country.

    "It has not been decided yet, whether to contest or not... legislators have said they will discuss with him (Gowda) about their demand (and convince)," he added.

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    With 117 members (including Speaker), BJP can ensure victory in two of the four seats, while Congress with 68 MLAs can win one seat. With a minimum 44 votes required for candidates to win, no party can independently win the fourth seat.

    JD(S) that has 34 seats in the assembly is not in a position to win a seat in Rajya Sabha on its own, and will need support from one of the national parties with their surplus votes for this.

    Speculations are rife that Congress is likely to support JD(S) with its surplus votes if the regional party fields Gowda and in return may seek favour during legislative council polls slated later this month.

    Noting that BJP and Congress have the numbers to ensure victory of two and one candidates respectively and both parties would have surplus votes, Kumaraswamy said, both parties have shortage to win one more seat. He said, legislators are of the opinion that if Deve Gowda is fielded, Congress and BJP will not field candidates for the fourth seat that they cannot win on their own.

    "Let's see what happens when the time comes, why worry about it now itself. let's think about it and decide if he (Gowda) contests," he added.

    According to sources, JD(S) is also thinking about an alternative name if Gowda declines to contest. Whether Congress will agree to it is not clear.

    On Gowda not agreeing to contest and not being able to find a suitable alternative, there may be chances of JD(S) deciding not to contest RS polls in and support Congress, sources said, adding that, in return it may seek favour in legislative council polls, but nothing has been decided.

    Aimed at consolidating his position as a Vokkaliga leader, state Congress President D K Shivakumar is said to be keen on supporting Gowda, a veteran from the community that has a large presence in southern parts of the state.

    Gowda, who believes in getting elected from the people, is not keen on "backdoor entry", sources said, adding that there is also a feeling that taking support from Congress will make it difficult for JD(S) in the old Mysuru region, where the grand old party is its traditional rival, as it happened during 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which both parties fought in alliance.

    If he contests and wins, this would be the second Rajya Sabha entry for 87-year-old Gowda, the first time being in 1996 as Prime Minister. Gowda was defeated in Tumkur constituency by BJP's G S Basavaraj by a margin of over 13,000 votes in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

    As the joint candidate of the then ruling Congress-JDS coalition, Gowda had chosen to contest from Tumkur at the last minute, after vacating Hassan-his home turf, to grandson Prajwal Revanna (a current MP).

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