JD(S) hopes to cash in on Congress dissent'

The JD(S) is mulling action against the seven MLAs under this provision, sources added.

Bengaluru: Will the ruling Congress sail through in the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for March 23 winning three of the four seats up for grabs as expected? Or is there a possibility of cross-voting by ‘disenchanted Congress’ MLAs which could wreck the chances of one of the Congress candidates and help JD(S) candidate BM Farooq scrape through?

It is public knowledge now that the choice of Congress candidates - all newcomers - was not what Congress bigwigs had expected. In fact the CM himself was keen on the candidature of either Mr Channa Reddy or Reddy Veeranna but the third seat went to KPCC president Dr G Parameshwar's supporter Mr G.C. Chandrashekhar.

Only 217 MLAs can vote which means the number of votes each candidate requires for a victory is a little over 41 while 43 would land him in the safe zone. The JD(S) has only 29 MLAs which would go up marginally if Mallikarjun Khuba, who quit the party recently, also votes for the JD(S) candidate. This will still leave the party short of 11-12 votes.

Sources said that the Congress is counting on the support of all eight independents as well as the seven rebel JD(S) MLAs but at least six of the independent MLAs are also in touch with the JD(S). Leaders of the JD(S) are also banking on reported ‘discontent’ in the Congress with sources saying as many as 15 Congress MLAs had earlier hinted that they would not be getting the Assembly poll ticket this time. Some have decided this will be their last poll while others are trying to negotiate with the JD(S) for a ticket if the Congress dumps them, said sources.

The JD(S), is also trying to dub the Congress as ‘anti-minority’ for trying to spoil the chances of Mr Farooq by putting up a third candidate in the polls. The party contends that there are only five Muslim MPs in the Rajya Sabha and Congress support for Mr Farooq would have helped increase their representation. The JD(S) has also brought up another fact: The Congress in the past did not file a third candidate helping those like Vijay Mallya, Rajiv Chandrashekhar and Kupendra Reddy win, so why make it so difficult for Mr Farooq now?

Meanwhile, the party is preparing to take legal action against the seven rebel MLAs, N Cheluvarayaswamy, B.Z. Zameer Ahamed, Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda, Balakrishna and others, who had cross voted during the previous RS election. The petition seeking action against them is pending before Speaker K.B. Koliwad. Sources said that as per one of the orders, the legislators cease to be House members once they go against the party line. The JD(S) is mulling action against the seven MLAs under this provision, sources added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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