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Karnataka: Deve Gowda to fight Rajya Sabha polls; Congress extends support

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Bengaluru, June 08: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has decided to contest Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, "at the request" of Sonia Gandhi.

Deve Gowda

"Former PM HD Devegowda has decided to contest the Rajya Sabha elections at the request of party legislators, Sonia Gandhi Ji and several national leaders. He is going to file his nominations tomorrow. Thanks to Sri DeveGowda for agreeing to everyone's consensus," Kumaraswamy, former Karnataka Chief Minister, tweeted.

Kumaraswamy further said it was "not an easy task" to persuade his 87-year-old father to enter Rajya Sabha.

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    "From the people, former prime minister DeveGowda has seen success and defeat. By the people, he has acquired higher positions," he wrote.

    The state Congress gave the clearest indication of backing Gowda when he said his party "is secular" and would not want any third candidate from the BJP to win.

    "The Congress is a secular party, we're clear that we don't want any third candidate from BJP to win Rajya Sabha polls. Our leader Sonia Gandhi will take a call on it," Shivakumar said on being asked if the party would support Deve Gowda's nomination.

    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.

    With 117 members (including Speaker), BJP can ensure victory in two of the four seats, while Congress with 68 MLAs can win one seat. 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.

    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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