Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda will be heading back to Rajya Sabha for the first time since his last stint in 1996 after Karnataka elected four members to the upper house unopposed. Besides Deve Gowda, Mallikarjun Kharge, Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti are the three other new MPs going to the Rajya Sabha.
While Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti are BJP's candidates, Kharge is the choice of the Congress party for the Upper House. Deve Gowda's candidature was backed by his own party the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). The former prime minister agreed to stand for the Rajya Sabha after being assured support by the Congress party.
"After my defeat in the Lok Sabha, I took a decision not to contest any more elections. The circumstances today - all the legislators of both the houses of my party took a unanimous decision that I must go to the Rajya Sabha. I had not accepted. But I agreed when Madam Sonia Gandhi said we were only waiting for your decision. That is why we only sent Kharge's name," Deve Gowda said.
Elections for the remaining 18 vacant Rajya Sabha seats, which were deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on June 19. Friday was the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures. None of the three parties fielded their candidates against the rivals and all the four candidates were elected unopposed.
BJP ignored Yediyurappa's first suggestions
The BJP had rejected candidates of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's choice and the names were decided by the party's central leadership. Karnataka state unit of the BJP had sent names of Prabhahar Kore, Ramesh Katti and Prakash Shetty but they were rejected by the saffron party's national president JP Nadda, who chose Kadadi and Gasti for the Rajya Sabha.
Yediyurappa, however, didn't show any signs of resentment and said that he was pleased that the party gave the seats to ordinary workers. "The BJP central leadership, by giving the seat to ordinary party workers, has given a gift. I thank them. Perhaps the BJP is the only party which would take such a decision of giving this change to ordinary members," the Karnataka CM had said.