Suspense over JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda contesting the Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka with Congress' support continues as KPCC president D K Shivakumar on Saturday said the party has fielded one candidate and the high command will decide on what do with surplus votes.
Shivakumar also said his official takeover as party state unit president is likely to take place on June 14. "Whatever our national leadership will decide.. for now we are fielding only one candidate, regarding surplus votes whatever our high command says, we will abide by it," he said in response to a question about supporting Deve Gowda.
Polls for four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka is scheduled for June 19. The Congress, which can win one seat with its strength in the assembly, has fielded veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge as the candidate, while the BJP is yet to decide on candidates for two seats it can win.
The JD(S), which 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. Minimum 44 votes are required for candidates to win.
Speculation is 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.
Though JD(S) legislators are of the unanimous opinion that Gowda should contest Rajya Sabha polls, the 87-year-old leader is said to be undecided and weighing options.
If he contests and wins, this will be the second Rajya Sabha entry for him, the first time being in 1996 as Prime Minister.
June 9 is the last date for filing nominations. Stating that on June 8, Mallikarjun Kharge will file his nomination for Rajya Sabha polls, Shivakumar requested party workers not to come to Congress office or Vidhana Soudha, where the nomination will be filed, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Let your love and affection continue, but let's not create problems by gathering here.After the election is over, and once he (Kharge) wins, you can greet and congratulate him.
Let's not bring a bad name to his seniority for not maintaining social distancing by gathering," he said.
With Congress having 68 MLAs in the assembly, victory is said to be certain for Kharge, who will be entering Rajya Sabha for the first time in his over four decade political career.
Meanwhile, Shivakumar said he has requested Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to give permission for his official takeover as state congress president on July 14.
The event, named 'Pratigna', has earlier been postponed twice- May 31 and June 7- due to COVID-19 related restrictions in place.
"I have requested the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Police Commissioner. Until June 8, there are restrictions in place, after that it may be eased and I hope permission will be given.
All preparations are underway for June 14," he added.