Congress party president in Karnataka Dr G Parameshwar, whose supporters are demanding the deputy chief minister’s position for him, former minister Rani Sathish and a key aide of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, H M Revanna, are the Congress frontrunners for seats in the legislative council, where 13 members are set to retire in June.
The ruling Congress party is in a position to grab a crucial edge in the Upper House of the State legislature in June for the first time since coming to power in the state in May 2013.
The Congress who have 121 members in the legislative Assembly are looking to garner the majority of the 16 vacancies (including three existing vacanies) overtake BJP, who enjoys an advantage in the upper house on account of its majority in the State Assembly till May, last year.
The Congress government aims to achieve a majority in the Upper House as crucial as it would otherwise have to frequently turn to the opposition JD(S) for support to push Bills in the council.
In the 75-member council BJP has 39 members, Congress 19, JD(S) 12, Independents 2 and three vacant posts. In June, 13 members will retire — nine from BJP, three from JD(S) and one from the Congress, creating 16 vacancies in all.
Of the 16 vacancies seven candidates will be elected from the State Assembly, five would be nominated by the government, while two each from the graduate and teachers’ constituency will have elections.
The Congress central leadership on Friday asked the State leadership to draw up a framework for picking candidates for the legislative council, and the party is expected to try to accommodate a rainbow combination of candidates in tune with the need to address caste equations in the State.
The State party president G Parameshwar who lost the 2013 State assembly elections at Koratagere in Tumkur, despite leading the Congress to a victory, is a frontrunner to be elected to the council and is expected to find his way into the state government subsequently.
Rani Sathish a minister in the S M Krishna government who was denied a Congress ticket in 2008 and 2013 is also among favorites to be elected. Siddaramaiah aide H M Revanna who was denied a ticket to contest the 2013 polls is also among the frontrunners, Congress sources said.
The Congress is in a position to win five of the seven elected seats in the council but the Janata Dal (Secular), who have 40 MLAs, are expected to seek a deal where the Congress supports two of its candidates in return for the JD(S) supporting the Congress for a Rajya Sabha seat.
The BJP frontrunner for a guaranteed elected seat is former party president K S Eshwarappa. The BJP has 43 MLAs in the State Assembly at present.
In the nominated category the Congress frontrunners for council seats are noted Kannada writer Marulsiddapa, actresses Jayamala or Bhavana and social worker, tribal rights activist and Right Livelihood award winner Dr H Sudarshan.