Council polls: Lehar Singh, BJP's 2nd candidate

Council polls: Lehar Singh, BJP's 2nd candidate

Move seen as bargaining tactic for JD(S) support in B'luru mayoral election

Council polls: Lehar Singh, BJP's 2nd candidate

 The BJP on Tuesday sprung a surprise by fielding its second candidate for the polls to the Legislative Council.

Former MLC Lehar Singh, the party’s second candidate, filed his nomination papers along with the party’s first candidate, former minister V Somanna in presence of state BJP leaders on the last day for submitting nominations.

The move to field a second candidate by the BJP is seen as a bargaining strategy to keep the JD(S) on tenterhooks at least for the next few days. The JD(S) has sought the support of the BJP for its second candidate and had hoped that the saffron party will heed to its request. The JD(S) did not want the BJP to field its second candidate.

According to sources in the BJP, the party leaders are not taking at the face value the promise of the JD(S) that it will support the BJP during the Bengaluru mayoral elections scheduled to be held in September. A series of talks between BJP and JD(S) leaders is on the cards in the next few days. The sources said Singh’s candidature will be withdrawn only after the JD(S) gives a commitment that it will honour its promise. Sources said the BJP may even persuade the JD(S) to withdraw its second candidate. Singh has the support of BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa.

The last date for withdrawal of nominations is June 3. A candidate needs a minimum of 29 votes to get elected. The ruling Congress with 123 MLAs can win four seats, while the BJP and the JD(S) with 44 and 40 MLAs respectively, can win one each. The BJP and the JD(S) will be left with 15 and 11 excess votes respectively.  The JD(S) on Monday fielded former MLC K V Narayanaswamy as its first candidate and S M  Venkatpathi, who runs a chain of hospitals and educational institutions, as the party’s second candidate.

The JD(S) had sought the excess votes of the BJP to its second candidate. In return, the JD(S) has indicated it will support the BJP during the mayoral elections in the BBMP Council. The Congress has fielded four candidates - Allum Veerabhadrappa, Veena Achaiah, R B Thimmapur and Arshad Rizwan.

BJP wooing Independents

Sources in the BJP said the party has been trying to woo the Independents and MLAs of smaller parties to ensure the victory of the second candidate without the help of JD(S). The party will be left with 15 surplus votes after ensuring the victory of the first candidate. The Assembly has nine Independents, three of BSR Congress, two of KJP and one each of Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha and Karnataka Mallala Paksha, the sources added.

Rajya Sabha polls: Nirmala files papers

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday filed her papers for the June 11 Rajya Sabha polls as the BJP candidate.

The BJP is one short of the 45 votes required for Sitharaman’s victory and has sought the support of MLAs Guru Patil (KJP) and T H Suresh Babu and S Thippeswamy (both BSR-Congress). Tuesday was the last date for filing nominations. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is June 3. Scrutiny of nominations will be taken up on Wednesday. Sitharaman's nomination from Karnataka  was finalised at the last minute by the BJP’s central leadership following a campaign in a section of society that only those who have roots in the state should be nominated from the state. 

“I am indebted to Karnataka and I will learn Kannada. I will speak in Kannada soon,” she told reporters. Her parents live in Bengaluru and she is a frequent here.