Former external affairs minister and ex-chief minister S M Krishna, 83, has lost out on a Rajya Sabha seat with the Congress party plumping for young Indian Institute of Management professor Rajeev Gowda over the veteran politician.
Krishna, who is set to retire from the Rajya Sabha on June 25, did not receive the Congress high command’s assent to file nominations for the RS polls scheduled to be held on June 19. The Congress has however re-nominated B K Hariprasad – another Rajya Sabha MP who is set to retire on June 25 – for another six-year term in Parliament.
On the last day of filing nominations here on Monday, AICC member Hariprasad filed his nominations along with Professor Gowda, 43, who is a Congress spokesperson and faculty at the IIMB. The nomination of Rajeev Gowda who belongs to the Vokkaliga community like Krishna comes after Gowda lost out on a Lok Sabha ticket in the Parliament polls.
Rajeev Gowda who is known to have a close association with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had stepped aside from the Bangalore South constituency to allow former Infosys CEO and UIDAI chairperson Nandan Nilekani to contest the seat as per the wishes of the Congress high command.
Gowda had participated in Rahul Gandhi’s primaries experiment in the Bangalore North constituency but had failed to muster the numbers among Congress workers to be eligible to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka in April.
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The age factor is believed to have gone against S M Krishna whose primacy in the Congress has also been on the decline with his growing age.
Four vacancies are set to come up from Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha this month. Krishna and B K Hariprasad are due to end their terms along with BJP members Prabhakar Kore and Rama Jois.
A candidate would need the support of 45 members of the 224 member Karnataka legislative assembly to be voted to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress is in a position to send two sure shot candidates to the Rajya Sabha on account of having 121 1egislators in the state assembly.
The BJP with 43 MLAs are in a position to send one MP to the Rajya Sabha. The party has nominated its sitting MP and influential Lingayat leader Prabhakar Kore for a second term.
The Congress is dependent on the opposition Janata Dal Secular party (who have 40 MLAs) to send a third candidate to the Rajya Sabha. The JDS has nominated wealthy realtor Kupendra Reddy who was in the Congress until last week but the Congress has not extended their support to Reddy.
All the parties decided to opt for local candidates over outsiders. The Congress rejected overtures from former UPA finance minister P Chidambaram who did not contest the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP initially considered using its available votes to send Modi government ministers Nirmala Sitharaman or Prakash Javadekar to Parliament but plumped for Kore who enjoys good equations with Modi.
Nominations were also filed on Monday for seven vacancies in the Karnataka Legislative Council. Congress state president G Parameshwara, chief minister Siddaramaiah’s close associate H M Revanna and party functionary N S Boseraju filed their nominations. The BJP’s former president K S Eshwarappa and real estate baron D U Mallikarjuna – who is being backed by both the JDS and the BJP are the others to have filed nominations so far.
The Congress with its 121 seats in the legislative assembly is in a position to win four of the seven seats (25 votes needed to clinch a seat) while the BJP and JDS can win one guaranteed seat each apart from co-operating for a third with each other or the Congress.