By: Express News Service | Bengaluru | Published: June 19, 2020 1:27:28 am
Yediyurappa at a ‘Mask Day’ rally in Bengaluru on Thursday. (PTI)
After being snubbed just over a week ago by the BJP leadership in selection of candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has had more of a say in the choice of BJP candidates in election for seven seats in the state Legislative Council on June 29.
The Rajya Sabha polls, originally scheduled for Friday, did not eventually take place, as all four candidates were declared elected unopposed.
For the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) polls, Yediyurappa has been able to ensure candidature of three of his picks among four BJP nominees. Congress rebels M T B Nagaraj and R Shankar, among the 13 Congress MLAs to have switched to BJP in 2019 to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, are among the four nominated. Yediyurappa is understood to have promised ministerial positions to them in exchange for their support.
While eight Congress rebels who were disqualified by the Speaker for defection were appointed ministers in February after they won in the Assembly bypolls, Nagaraj, who lost the bypolls, and Shankar, who did not contest, were not eligible to hold office until re-election to the legislature under anti-defection law.
A third Yediyurappa pick to make the cut for the MLC polls is his long-time associate Sunil Valyapure, while the fourth is a party pick—Prathap Simha Nayak, a long-term worker from coastal Karnataka region.
The BJP has 116 seats in the Assembly and will be able to ensure the victory of all four of its candidates, who need a minimum of 25 votes each to be elected. The election of Nagaraj and Shankar is expected to set the stage for expansion of the state Cabinet, which already has 10 former Congress and JD(S) legislators who switched sides as ministers.
Earlier this month, the BJP central leadership had surprised Yediyurappa by picking two low-profile party leaders—Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti– as candidates for Rajya Sabha. The choice of the grassroots workers was seen as a snub to Yediyurappa, who wanted former MPs Prabhakar Kore and Ramesh Katti, and hotelier Prakash Shetty.
RS candidates from the BJP, Congress and the JD(S) have been elected unopposed, as only four candidates were in the fray. The Congress backed Mallikarjun Kharge and joined hands with JD(S) to back ex-PM H D Deve Gowda, while the BJP has provided tacit support to Gowda by not fielding a third candidate.
For the Council polls, the Congress, which can win two seats, has picked retiring Rajya Sabha member B K Hariprasad and Nasseer Ahmed, who is said to be close to former CM Siddaramaiah.
JD(S) which can elect one MLC, has picked veteran Govindaraju.
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