Bengaluru: The Karnataka BJP core committee that met on Saturday is said to have discussed recommending over a dozen names including the party Vice President and veteran leader B S Yediyurappa’s son B Y Vijayendra, to the central leadership, for the upcoming Legislative Council polls.
The committee is also said to have discussed the possibility of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman being given the ticket for re-election to Rajya Sabha from the state, party sources said.
The core committee meeting was attended by BJP national General Secretary in-charge of the state Arun Singh, state President Nalin Kumar Kateel, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, former CMs Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, national General Secretary C T Ravi, among others.
Biennial elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka and two each graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies of the state Legislative Council will be held on June 10 and 13 respectively.
Also, biennial elections to the Karnataka Legislative Council for seven seats will be held on June 3.
While the names for candidates for graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies have already been announced, the names for seven MLC seats to be elected by MLAs is said to have been shortlisted under SC/ST, general, women and OBC quotas.
The names include Vijayendra, former Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi (one among retiring MLCs), state Vice-President M Rajendra, General Secretary Mahesh Tenginkai, SC Morcha president Chalavadi Narayanaswamy, former MLCs M B Bhanuprakash and Siddaraju and Mahila Morcha president Geetha Vivekananda, among others, sources familiar about the developments said.
According to sources, in this election, each MLC candidate will require a minimum of 29 votes to win, and on the basis of minimum votes required and tallying it with the strength of each party in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP will be able win four seats, Congress two and JD(S) one.
There were earlier reports that Vijayendra might be fielded to contest the 2023 assembly polls from one of the seats in the old Mysuru (south Karnataka) region. He too had recently stated that he is interested in working in the region, if the party decides.
In case Vijayendra is given an MLC ticket and gets elected, there may be renewed demand for his induction into Bommai’s cabinet. There have been such demands from his supporters after Yediyurappa stepped down as Chief Minister in July last year.
He was appointed as the party Vice President in July, 2020. Before that he was appointed as BJP youth wing general secretary, soon after he was denied a party ticket to contest from Varuna constituency in Mysuru, ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls.
Vijayendra’s stakes increased in the party as he was credited to have played a key role for BJP’s first ever victory in K R Pet and Sira assembly segments during the by-polls held in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
However, a section of party functionaries believe that the BJP’s central leaders may object to his candidature, as it will weaken the party’s stand against nepotism and family politics, ahead of 2023 assembly polls. Yediyurappa is an MLA from Shikaripura assembly seat, while his elder son B Y Ragahavendra is Shivamogga MP. There are earlier instances of party high command completely ruling out the state unit’s recommendation and announcing an entirely fresh list, a party functionary pointed out.
Of the four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, the BJP can win at least two and Congress one.
The core committee is also said to have discussed recommending the ticket for Nirmala Sitharaman for her re-election, sources said, while, the names of outgoing Rajya Sabha member KC Ramamurthy, outgoing MLC Lehar Singh Siroya, Nirmal Kumar Surana and entrepreneur Prakash Shetty are doing the rounds for the second seat.
Singh said the normal procedure is the state core committee and state election committee discuss and shortlists the names and send it to the central election committee to decide. ”The central election committee finally decides the names of the MLC and MP candidates, this is the procedure, this is what we have done here also. The state party president in consultation with the Chief Minister and other leaders will send a list to the central election committee, which will take the decision,” he said.
BJP has already announced the candidates for three — two sitting MLCs, Arun Shahpur (North West Teachers’ constituency) and Hanumant Rudrappa Nirani (North West Graduates’ constituency), and former MLC M V Ravishankar (South Graduates’ Constituency).
Basavaraj Horatti, who is currently the Legislative Council Chairman and was elected on a JD(S) ticket last time, is likely to be BJP’s candidate from West Teachers’ constituency.
The ruling BJP currently has 37 members in the upper house, where it is just one short of a simple majority. The halfway mark in the 75-member Legislative Council is 38.
While Congress’ strength is 26, JD(S) has 10 members. There is also one independent member other than the Chairman.