At Sonia's request, Deve Gowda to contest Rajya Sabha polls
JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda will contest the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka, his son HD Kumaraswamy confirmed on Monday. Gowda was initially reluctant to contest the June 19 elections but agreed after requests from Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Several national leaders and party legislators also persuaded him. The stalwart will file his nomination on Tuesday.
Gowda went to Rajya Sabha in 1996 as PM
If Gowda wins, this will be his second Rajya Sabha tenure. He entered the Upper House of Parliament in 1996, as the PM, for just two years. Since 1962, the veteran politician has always preferred going to Legislative Assembly and the Parliament through direct polls. He describes his entry into Rajya Sabha through the backdoor as an "aberration".
Gowda lost 2019's general elections after vacating stronghold for grandson
In the last 58 years, the 87-year-old has won Assembly elections seven times, and Lok Sabha polls six times. Last year, he lost the Lok Sabha elections from Tumkuru constituency. BJP's GS Basavaraj defeated him by 13,000 votes. To note, Gowda had vacated his bastion Hassan, from where he won five times between 1991 and 2014, for grandson Prajwal Revanna. The young leader won.
Persuading Gowda wasn't easy, said Kumaraswamy
In a tweet, Kumaraswamy, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, said it wasn't easy to convince Gowda for the election. As the party is fetching for new ways to stay relevant in national politics, JD(S) members thought Gowda's entry in the Rajya Sabha could be one way of achieving the same. Separately, Sonia wants him there to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
Kumaraswamy thanked father for contesting polls
Former PM @H_D_Devegowda have decided to contest the Rajya Sabha elections at the request of party legislators, @INCIndia Sonia Gandhi Ji and several national leaders. He is going to file his nominations tomorrow. Thanks to Sri DeveGowda for agreeing to everyone's consensus.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) June 8, 2020
Congress has already fielded Mallikarjun Kharge from one seat
The elections will be held for four seats as Congress' Rajeev Gowda and BK Hari Prasad, BJP's Prabhakar Kore, and Kupendra Reddy of the JD(S) are set to retire. Notably, a candidate needs 44 MLA votes to win. With 68 MLAs, Congress has already fielded its veteran Mallikarjun Kharge and has enough excess votes to help another candidate sail through. JD(S) has 34 MLAs.
Siddaramaiah opposed the idea, Congress supported Gowda nevertheless!
Reports suggested that Siddaramaiah's camp was opposed to Gowda's nomination, arguing that it could pave the path for the political revival of JD(S), with which Congress had a bitter fallout last year. But Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar indicated support for Gowda saying his party was a "secular" one and doesn't want a third candidate from BJP to win the upcoming polls.
BJP unlikely to field candidate against Gowda
Shivakumar had said, "The Congress is a secular party, we're clear that we don't want any third candidate from BJP to win Rajya Sabha polls." With 117 members, BJP could easily win two seats. It is unlikely that the party will field a candidate against Gowda. The candidates' names have been sent for approval. The last date of filing the nomination is June 9.