HD Deve Gowda was defeated in last year's national election by his BJP rival.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda will contest the Rajya Sabha election in Karnataka, "at the request" of Sonia Gandhi, his son HD Kumaraswamy announced in tweets today. The Congress has apparently confirmed its support to ally Deve Gowda after keeping up the suspense for days.
"Former PM HD Devegowda has decided to contest the Rajya Sabha elections at the request of party legislators, Sonia Gandhi Ji and several national leaders. He is going to file his nominations tomorrow. Thanks to Sri DeveGowda for agreeing to everyone's consensus," Mr Kumaraswamy, former Karnataka Chief Minister, tweeted.
Deve Gowda was defeated in last year's national election by his BJP rival after he vacated his stronghold Hassan for grandson Prajwal Revanna, who won. He will now enter parliament through Rajya Sabha for the first time since 1996, when he was Prime Minister.
Former PM @H_D_Devegowda have decided to contest the Rajya Sabha elections at the request of party legislators, @INCIndia Sonia Gandhi Ji and several national leaders. He is going to file his nominations tomorrow. Thanks to Sri DeveGowda for agreeing to everyone's consensus.- H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) June 8, 2020
Mr Kumaraswamy said it was "not an easy task" to persuade his 87-year-old father to enter Rajya Sabha. "From the people, former prime minister DeveGowda has seen success and defeat. By the people, he has acquired higher positions," he wrote.
Elections will be held on June 19 for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka. The BJP has fielded two candidates and was debating a third candidate. The Congress, with 68 MLAs, has enough votes to win one seat and has named senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who will enter Rajya Sabha for the first time. The party has surplus votes to support another candidate.
Any candidate needs 44 MLA votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat in Karnataka. Mr Gowda needs the support of the bigger parties to win.
The BJP had said it could field a third candidate if Deve Gowda did not contest.
Mr Gowda's Janata Dal Secular (JDS), which has 34 seats in the assembly, had not received any official indication from the Congress after it decided to field the former PM. However, sources say Congress president Sonia Gandhi is keen on having the veteran as a voice against the BJP-led coalition in parliament.
This morning, senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar, gave the clearest indication of backing Mr Gowda when he said his party "is secular" and would not want any third candidate from the BJP to win.
"The Congress is a secular party, we're clear that we don't want any third candidate from BJP to win Rajya Sabha polls. Our leader Sonia Gandhi will take a call on it," Mr Shivakumar said on being asked if the party would support Deve Gowda's nomination.
In return for backing Mr Gowda, the Congress expects support from the JDS in the legislative council polls later this month.
The elections are being held to fill 18 Rajya Sabha seats from seven states that are vacant.