The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), who are in a position to elect former finance minister P Chidambaram to the Rajya Sabha, are sending out signals that they will prefer a local candidate even as the BJP is toying with nominating Union minister Nirmala Sith-araman or Prakash Javadekar over local candidates.
The Congress in Karnat-aka on Friday held a meeting of its state leadership — CM Siddaramaiah and party president G Parameshwar — with AICC observers Digvijaya Singh and Selva Kumar to decide on candidates for the Rajya Sabha as well as for 12 Legislative Council candidates.
Four vacancies are set to come up from Karnataka in the RS in June and the elections to fill the vacancies are scheduled for June 16. Congress members S M Krishna and B K Hariprasad are due to end their terms on June 25 along with BJP members Prabhakar Kore and Rama Jois.
The Congress, that is in a position to send two candidates to the RS from Karnataka on account of its 121 legislators, is dependent on the opposition Janata Dal(Secular) to send a third candidate. The party has more or less decided on sending sitting RS MPs S M Krishna and B K Hariprasad to Parliament again but the third seat depends on the JD(S).
According to Congress sources, former UPA finance minister P Chidambaram is a possible contender for the RS slot.
The Congress sources, however, stated the party high command had not given any directives to the local unit and had given it a free hand to decide on the candidate. The local unit including CM Siddaramaiah is not in favour of supporting Chidambaram and are keen to moot a local candidate, sources said.
Following a meeting with the local leadership, Digvijaya Singh said no discussion had been held on the candidates but the party local unit had been directed to create a fram-ework to select candidates. The JD(S), which is crucial to the election of the third Congress candidate on account of its 40 Assembly seats, has also sent out a signal that it would prefer to support a local candidate over an outsider like Chidambaram.
JD(S) sources said the party would strike up a deal with Congress to give the third seat to a strong candidate of Congress’s choice in return for a greater say in the Legislative Council where the party has an opportunity to gain three seats in the event of an understanding with the Congress.
The name of a real estate magnate Kupendra Reddy, associated with both the Congress and JD(S), has been doing the rounds as a possible contender for the third RS seat. The BJP, meanwhile, is toying with the idea of using its 44 votes to pick an outsider for the RS and is considering Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javadekar, sources said.