Ruling out support to Janata Dal (Secular) candidate B.M. Farooq for the third seat of the Rajya Sabha, the Congress in Karnataka has decided to field Syed Naseer Hussain, AICC spokesman, L. Hanumanthaiah, former MLC and former Kannada Development Authority chairman, and G.C. Chandrashekar, former Chairman of Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB).
In terms of caste equation, the party has decided to field candidates from minority community (Mr. Hussain – Ballari), a Dalit (Mr. Hanumanthaiah – Bengaluru Rural) and a Vokkalinga (Mr. Chandrashekar – Hassan).
Mr. Hussain, a youth Congress leader, obtained doctorate in international politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He served as the Co Vice-Chairman of the Central Advisory Board for Child Labour under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Mr. Chandrashekar is presently general secretary of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.
Keeping in mind the forthcoming elections to the State Assembly, the Congress appears to have decided to field candidates who worked for the party and hail from the State. During the meeting with party high command last week, the State party leaders reportedly opposed fielding “outsiders” in the Rajya Sabha elections from the State.
Mr. Farooq of the JD(S) has already filed his nomination papers. He contested the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections and was defeated.
Each candidate requires 44 votes in the 225-member Assembly. The Congress has 123 members, including Speaker; BJP - 43, JD(S) - 37, Badavara Shramikarra Raithara Paksha - 3, Karnataka Janata Paksha - 2, Karnataka Makkala Paksha - 1, Independents - 8, and nominated - 1. There are seven vacant seats.
The third candidate of the Congress is expected to emerge victorious with the likely support of seven JD(S) rebels and B.R. Patil of the Karnataka Janata Paksha, Independent MLA B.R. Nagendra, and Ashok Kheny of Karnataka Makkala Paksha.
Elections to four Rajya Sabha seats are scheduled on March 23. The term of four members of the Upper House — Rajiv Chandrasekhar (Independent), Rahman Khan (Congress), Basavaraj Patil Sedam and R. Ramakrishna (Both BJP) — will end on April 2, 2018.