« Back to articlePrint this article

Karnataka RS race: Cong to lodge MLAs in a hotel

February 23, 2024 21:43 IST

Apparently aimed at keeping the flock together ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, all ruling Congress MLAs in Karnataka will stay put together at a hotel in Bengaluru on Monday after the budget session of the state legislature concludes and will later also travel together for voting the next day.

IMAGE: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, in Mangalore on February 17, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

This was revealed by Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, also the state Congress president, while speaking to reporters on Friday about the biennial election to fill four vacancies from Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha by the elected MLAs on February 27.

"We have to be careful....all the MLAs will be staying together at the hotel, we will be coming together to vote (to Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday). We have extra votes. We will do whatever is necessary to secure our party. Others are also in touch with us. I don't want to disclose it," he told reporters in Bengaluru, adding that a mock voting drill would also be held.


Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has called the Congress legislature party meeting at 3.30 pm on Monday in the presence of All India Congress Committee general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala and party treasurer Ajay Maken.

Arrangements have been made to take all the MLAs together from the hotel to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature and secretariat here, in a bus for voting on Tuesday, party sources said.

Eight party leaders including two ministers have been assigned for coordination with MLAs, they said.

The Rajya Sabha election scene in Karnataka has heated up with Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (Secular) combine fielding its second candidate, even though the alliance has the strength to win only one out of the four seats.

The ruling Congress, whose strength is 135 in the 224 member assembly, along with the support of Darshan Puttanaiah from Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha and two Independents, is expected to retain the three seats.

The BJP and JD-S with 66 and 19 members, respectively, are in a position to together win one seat.

According to official sources, each candidate has to get 45 votes to win, if there are only four candidates in the fray, but in case of more candidates, preference votes kick in.

Responding to a question on JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy reportedly discussing Rajya Sabha polls with Union Home Minister Amit Shah during their meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, Shivakumar said, "There is no need to worry. We know what we have in our quiver, they too are aware of what we have."

"We are aware of what discussions they have done, we are also aware of which MLA they are making phone calls and what they are talking to them. All MLAs are telling us. They are trying to contact them through their relatives and friends and others, we are aware of it. We have our watch on every one from all parties," he said.

Asked whether Congress MLAs have received calls from Delhi, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief said he wouldn't like to comment on it now.

"138 people (MLAs), including Janardhana Reddy (of Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha), I have requested. We have several others also with us," he said.

The Congress has fielded Ajay Maken, Syed Naseer Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar as party candidates, while the BJP has fielded former MLC Narayansa Bandage as its candidate.

In a surprise move, JD-S leader and former Rajya Sabha Member D Kupendra Reddy too has filed a nomination, necessitating a contest.

The election is necessitated to fill in four Rajya Sabha seats from the state that will become vacant due to the retirement of Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar from BJP, and Congress' Chandrashekar, L Hanumanthaiah and Hussein, on April 2, after the expiry of their six-year term.

© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.