We did not ask for votes from anybody: NDA’s Rajya Sabha candidate Kupendra Reddy

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BENGALURU: As the shadow of cross-voting looms over the Rajya Sabha polls in Karnataka, JD(S) leader Kupendra Reddy, fielded as the fifth candidate by the NDA, on Tuesday refuted the claims of the Congress about threatening its MLAs to cast votes in his favour, saying that his parties in the NDA have not sought any favour from anyone.

“Most probably cross-voting will happen…If we threatened someone or asked for votes, they (Congress) should have complained to the Election Commission. We did not ask for votes from anybody…” Reddy said.

The Rajya Sabha election in Karnataka heated up after the BJP-JD(S) combine fielded Kupendra Reddy, even though the alliance had the strength to win only one out of the four seats. Five candidates — Ajay Maken, Syed Nasir Hussain and G C Chandrasekhar (all Congress), Narayansa Bandage (BJP) and Kupendra Reddy (JD(S) — are in the fray.

Voting will be held at Vidhana Soudha.

The JD(S) and BJP are exploring options of getting the ruling Congress MLAs to cross-vote as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee, D Kupendra Reddy, is falling short of four votes. Earlier, the Congress has complained that MLAs are being blackmailed to vote for Kupendra Reddy. A Congress delegation filed a complaint with the Bengaluru Police Commissioner.

In Karnataka, three MPs from the Congress and one from the BJP are retiring and the outcome after the elections will be the same. As numbers stand in the Karnataka Assembly, the Congress is assured of three seats, and the BJP of one.

Each Rajya Sabha candidate needs at least 45 votes in the 224-member Assembly to win a Rajya Sabha seat from the state. The Congress, with 135 MLAs, has the exact number to elect its three candidates — Ajay Maken, Nasir Hussain and G C Chandrashekhar.

The BJP has 66 MLAs, which means it can easily get its main candidate, party worker Narayansa Bhandage, elected. Combined with the 19 JD(S) MLAs, the BJP-JDs second candidate, Kupendra Reddy, will need to get support of three Independents and get at least three Congress MLAs to cross-vote if he has to win.

In the 2022 Rajya Sabha polls, cross-voting by two JD(S) MLAs that had caused the surprise defeat of Reddy, then a JD(S) candidate.

Voting for 56 Rajya Sabha seats from 15 states, which are falling vacant in April, got under way on Tuesday. While 50 members retire on April 2, six will retire the following day. Of the 238 members of the Upper House at present, 109 are from NDA parties while 89 belong to parties in the INDI alliance.

The term for Rajya Sabha MPs is six years, and elections are held after every two years for 33 per cent of the seats. Currently, the Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245 members.

The Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by the MLAs in an indirect election through the system of proportional representation. They are mostly foregone conclusions, with elections being held unopposed and all party candidates sailing through.

A total of 56 seats are falling vacant in this round of the biennial elections. The BJP can win 27 seats as per its numbers, plus one more with the help of the BJD in Odisha. (ANI)

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