Cakewalk for Mallya, 2 BJP leaders, lone Congman

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  • Rajya Sabha elections: It was a tailor-made success

Bangalore, 18 June 2010: It was a cakewalk for industrialist Vijay Mallya, Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu and Ayanur Manjunath in the elections to the Rajya Sabha held on Thursday at Vidhana Soudha. With their smooth sail, Congress’ T V Maruthi had no choice but to bite the dust as he failed to get the required number of votes - 45. 

The three parties’ calculations did not go awry with none of the MLAs violating the party dictum or popping up surprises for their leaders. While the BJP candidates bagged the highest 60 votes each, Mallya, who contested as independent candidate with the JD(S) support, secured third highest of 59 votes.

Congress’ Oscar Fernandes polled 50 votes. Naidu and Oscar are elected for the third time, while it is the second term for Mallya. Ayanur Manjunath will be representing the State in Rajya Sabha for the first time.

Except for the tainted former minister H Halappa of the BJP and K M Krishnamurthy of the Congress, all 221 MLAs in the House of 225, cast their ballots. Halappa, who is in Victoria Hospital, had court permission to vote, but he did not vote as state party president K S Eshwarappa on Wednesday itself had announced the party would not like to ‘disturb’ him.

Krishnamurthy is  indisposed. One seat is vacant following the death of BJP MLA Chandrashekhar Revoor. The House has a representative of Anglo Indians, who has no voting right.

Mallya, who got 27 votes of the JD(S) besides the vote of one independent - Varthur Prakash, sailed through the elections with the help of the BJP. The ruling party diverted all its second preference votes to Mallya, while keeping the first preference votes for its official candidates.

By doing so, the party not only ensured smooth victory for its own candidates, but successfully spiked the Congress’ chances of winning one more seat. It was also done to counter the Congress’ allegations that the BJP and the JD(S) have a secret understanding in supporting Mallya.

The Congress had in a way accepted the defeat of Maruthi as none of its MLAs exercised their second preferential votes. He, as a result, got only 23 first preference votes -- 22 short of the required votes to win. The party lost the second seat as it failed to enter into a tie-up with the JD(S).

The two parties had initially informally agreed to go together on a give-and-take basis: The Congress would give away in the Legislative Council seat to the JD(S), which, in return, would support it to win one more Rajya Sabha seat. However, they fell apart as the JD(S) opposed the Congress’ plans to field field B K Hariprasad. At this juncture, Mallya decided to jump into the fray and the JD(S) backed him. The BJP, which had 31 excess votes, supported Mallya.

What they said...

* “I am happy with the result. It is a privilege to serve my home State again.  I believe in accountability. So, I have published a booklet of questions which I raised in Parliament with regard to the State during my first term as RS member and distributed to all MLAs.”

Industrialist Vijay Mallya, Independent

*“Karnataka is doing a commendable job in industrial sector. Bangalore is known for its scientific temperament. Unitedly we can do more for the State.”

Oscar Fernandes, Congress candidate

* “I will work sincerely for the State during my term and protect its interest on all issues, including the Cauvery river dispute. I will try to bring as much funds as possible for the State and work for development.”

Ayanur Manjunath, BJP candidate

* “I am thankful to people of Karnataka and my party MLAs for sending me to Rajya Sabha for the third time. I will strive to protect the interest of Karnataka. I will stand by the State on all issues.”

Venkaiah Naidu, BJP candidate

* “There is no truth in the Congress’ allegation that the BJP and the JD(S) have joined hands again. The Congress had invited me for talks. I personally met Congress leaders in Delhi. But, the talks failed. Vijay Mallya sought our support. Instead of allowing our votes go waste, the party supported Mallya.”

H D Kumaraswamy, JD(S) state president

* “How can inference be drawn that the BJP is trying to ‘remarry’ the JD(S) just because it has supported Vijay Mallya backed by the JD(S)? After all ,Mallya is not the JD(S) candidate. He is Independent. That’s the reason why the BJP is supporting as per the high command’s direction. Our intention was to defeat the Congress. Therefore, it became inevitable to support Mallya.”

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa


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