Congress in a fix on backing JD(S) in RS elections

Congress in a fix on backing JD(S) in RS elections

The JD(S) reaching out to the Congress seeking its support to win a Rajya Sabha seat in the upcoming elections, has left the ruling party in a fix.

The Congress, which has already drawn up a plan to win three of the four seats, the elections for which is scheduled to be held on March 23, has neither rejected nor accepted the JD(S) plea. The Congress is treading cautiously as its decision in this regard will have a bearing on the crucial Assembly polls, likely to be held in May.

JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy said in Yadgir district on Tuesday that his party has sought the Congress' support to win a Rajya Sabha seat. The JD(S) is falling short of approximately 15 votes to win the seat. A candidate has to secure about 45 votes to emerge victorious. The MLAs are the voters in the Rajya Sabha elections.

With 123 MLAs on its side, the Congress can easily win two seats. It will fall short of about 12 votes to win the third seat. But, it can comfortably sail through with the support of seven JD(S) rebel MLAs and some Independent legislators. The BJP, which has 44 MLAs, can win one seat.

Sources in the Congress said the senior leaders are divided in their opinion on extending support to the JD(S). A section of leaders, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, is said to be opposing it, while some leaders are in its favour as it would enable the party to have a post-poll alliance with the JD(S) in the event of an hung Assembly.

Siddaramaiah is learnt to have told the party high command that the party can muster required number of votes to win the third seat. He is of the view that supporting the JD(S) ahead of the Assembly polls will send out a wrong message; people may infer that the Congress is not very confident of winning the majority in the Assembly polls on its own.

The JD(S) is said to be eager on fielding a Muslim candidate in the Rajaya Sabha polls so that it can woo the community voters in the Assembly elections. JD(S) leader and Mangaluru-based businessman B M Farooq and party national general secretary Kanwar Danish Ali are the JD(S) aspirants.

The party had fielded Farooq in the Rajya Sabha polls held in 2016. But, he could not win the elections as eight of the JD(S) MLAs voted in favour of the Congress.

When contacted, KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao refused to comment on the JD(S) reaching out to the Congress.

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