Jairam Ramesh, Oscar Fernandes file nominations for RS polls from Karnataka

Jairam Ramesh

 Former central ministers Oscar Fernandes and Jairam Ramesh on Monday filed nominations here for the biennial elections to four of the 12 Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka.

“Both the leaders filed the papers with the returning officer in the legislature office in presence of state unit president G. Parameshwara and state Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande,” a party spokesman told reporters later.

Former police officer K.C. Ramamurthy, who joined Congress over a decade ago, also filed nomination for the third seat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in place of Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, to contest for the fourth seat from the southern state.

Regional party Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) has also fielded B.M. Farooq from Mangaluru as its candidate for one seat.

In the 225-member state legislative assembly, which forms the electoral college, the Congress has 123 lawmakers, BJP 44, JD-S 40, independents 11 and others 6.

As each candidate requires 45 votes to win the contest from the state, election of Fernandes and Ramesh is certain, as the Congress has 123 votes.

Though Ramamurthy is betting on getting the ruling party’s 33 surplus votes, he needs an additional 12 votes from independents and other lawmakers to win.

“We too hope Ramamurthy will get votes of independents and other lawmakers for our party to win three seats from the state,” said the Congress spokesman.

Sitharaman, who is filing her nomination on Tuesday, is expected to get elected as the BJP has 49 votes, including three from BSR-C and two from KJP.

Sitharaman, who hails from Tamil Nadu, got elected from Andhra Pradesh in the previous term.

Regional outfits BSR-C and KJP are an offshoot of the BJP, floated in 2013-14 by its local leaders when they broke away from it.

Ramesh too swapped, switching over from Andhra, while Naidu, who hails from Andhra, is contesting from Rajasthan for the fourth term after representing Karnataka for the last three consecutive terms.

As JD-S has only 40 seats in the lower house, Farooq needs five more votes from independents or others to win.

Vacancy for the four seats is caused by the end of six-year term of Fernandes, Naidu, and BJP’s lawmaker Manjunatha Aayanur by June 30, while industrialist Vijay Mallya (Independent) resigned this month though his term is also due to end on June 30.

Tuesday is the last date for filing nominations, while scrutiny is on June 1, last date for withdrawal on June 3 and polling (if required) on June 11 and vote counting on the same evening.


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