Amid cross-voting, Cong wins three RS seats, BJP one in Karnataka

Bengaluru, Feb 27 (UNI) Amid reports of cross-voting in the high-pitched electoral battle for the four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, all three ruling Congress candidates Ajay Maken, Dr Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrashekhar sailed through, while the BJP bagged the remaining seat on Tuesday.

“I thank all the MLAs, party workers and the media. I am very happy to inform you that all Congress candidates have won. I thank all voters, CM and party workers and the AICC President also. I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge,” Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar told reporters here.

Maken won 47 votes, while Hussain and Chandrashekhar won 46 votes each. The BJP, on the other hand, won one seat.

It also shows the unity and integrity of Congress, Shivakumar said.

BJP had initially fielded one candidate and Congress three, but NDA fielded Kupendra Reddy as the fifth candidate, thus enforcing an election for Rajya Sabha in Karnataka.

The BJP confirmed its MLA ST Somasekhar cross-voted in favour of the Congress, while another party legislator Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting.

Both of them quit the Congress and joined the BJP to topple the Congres-JDS government in 2019. For the past year, Somasekhar had been giving indications of rejoining the Congress.

Ahead of casting his vote, Somasekhar told the media that he was going to cast a ‘vote of conscience’ if anybody provided funds to his Yeshwanthpur constituency.

Former BJP MLA Gali Janardhan Reddy also said he would cast ‘vote of conscience’, but profusely lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his style of functioning.

After winning the poll, Hussain told reporters that it was an important victory ahead of the Lok Sabha election as the party got more votes for Congress candidates who contested the poll.

“This was an expected victory. We had enough votes to win all three seats. We got more votes for these three seats. This is an important victory ahead of the Lok Sabha (poll). It is a privilege for me to be in the Upper House and represent Congress party and Karnataka for the second consecutive time,” he said.

Husain further said: “I thank my leadership, especially Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar. They worked very hard, they had faith in us. Here, they were closely watching the movements of BJP and JD(S), they didn’t allow our MLAs to fall prey to their tactics.”

Surjewala said the politics of muscle and money power has been decisively defeated and also politics of aaya Ram and Gaya Ram have been conclusively rejected.

“It is also a huge victory for democracy and the INDIA bloc, a resounding win for Kanadda pride and affirmation of sagacious guidance of Kharge. It is also an assertion of NYAY espoused by Rahul Gandhi,” he added.

On BJP MLA ST Somasekhar cross-voting to Congress, Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly R Ashoka said that the saffron party is exploring legal action against him.

“I have taken the opinion of our state legal cell president and a high court lawyer Vivek Reddy. We will ask the Speaker (UT Khader) to initiate action against him (Somashekar) and explore the possibilities to take action by the law,” he said.

Before the polling ended at 4 pm, as many as 222 votes out of 223 were cast. The total strength of the state assembly is 224, but the tally is reduced to 223 because of the death of Shorapur MLA Raja Venkatappa Naik who died of a heart attack on Sunday.

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