Karnataka Rajya Sabha Polls Amid Resort Politics, Cross-Voting Worry

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The voting began at 9 am and will go on till 4 pm before the counting begins at 5 pm.

New Delhi:

Voting for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka is on today amid suspense over potential cross-voting, which drove the Congress to move all its MLAs to a private resort on Monday.

Five candidates are in the Rajya Sabha race, including Ajay Maken, Syed Naseer Hussain, and GC Chandrasekhar from the Congress, Narayansa Bhandage from the BJP, and Kupendra Reddy from JD(S).

The voting began at 9 am and will go on till 4 pm before the counting at 5 pm.

The Congress, which has 134 MLAs, faces a tough challenge from the BJP with 66 MLAs, JD(S) with 19, and four others. The Congress claims the support of two independents and Darshan Puttanaiah from Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha among the ‘others’ and is confident of securing three seats. Interestingly, G Janardhana Reddy, a mining baron and a former BJP minister from Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha, met with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah yesterday

The contest intensified after the BJP-JD(S) alliance fielded its second candidate, Kupendra Reddy, despite having the strength to secure only one out of the four available seats.

Mr Reddy said that his party, as part of the NDA, has not sought any favors from anyone but acknowledged that there could be cross-voting.

“Most probably cross voting will happen. If we threatened someone or asked for votes, they (Congress) should have complained to the Election Commission. We did not ask for votes from anybody,” Mr Reddy said.

HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) chief, said that the Congress had been attempting to destabilise his party from the outset, leading them to nominate a candidate to demonstrate strength. He assured that there would be no cross-voting from JD(S).

“Since Day 1, the Congress has been trying to destabilize the JDS. In order to demonstrate our strength, we asked our candidate to file a nomination. There will be no cross-voting from my party,” Mr Kumaraswamy said.

In this Rajya Sabha election in Karnataka, each candidate needs 45 votes to secure victory when only four candidates are in the fray. However, if there are more candidates, preference votes come into play, complicating the electoral dynamics.

The election is triggered by the retirement of Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar from the BJP and Congress members GC Chandrashekhar, Syed Naseer Hussain, and L Hanumanthaiah, whose terms expires on April 2. MLAs are using an open ballot system to cast their votes.


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