Siddaramaiah demanded JDS support for Congress' RS candidate Mansoor Ali Khan, who filed his nomination one day prior to JDS' Kupendra Reddy. Notably there are 6 candidates in the fray for the 4 RS seats in Karnataka.
While the ruling BJP is in pole position for 2 seats and the Congress can also get one of their candidates elected based on the strength in the assembly, there is a tug of war for the fourth seat, for which the support of JDS is crucial. Earlier JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy had asked the Congress to ask their MLAs to cast their second preference votes to JDS candidate.
Karnataka's former CM Siddaramaiah, seeking support from JDS for their second candidate Mansoor Ali Khan and responding to Republic TV's exclusive interview with HD Kumaraswamy said,
"Mansoor Ali Khan filed his nomination one day early to JDS's Kupendra Reddy. He belongs to minority community. If they are really interested that a communal candidate should not win in this election, they should support us. Kumaraswamy should realise when Devegowda got elected, did we file our nomination?"
#LIVE | Very difficult to have good relations with Siddaramaiah ji, I have no issue with relationship with any Congress leaders but Siddaramiah ji who from day 1 has not been willing to have good relations: @hd_kumaraswamy, former Karnataka CM & JDS chief https://t.co/hBNv8QJ045 pic.twitter.com/9mL4A9qv1H— Republic (@republic) June 9, 2022
Given that second preference votes are crucial for JDS to make its candidate win, Kumaraswamy, speaking exclusively with Republic TV said, "After the process for filing nomination for the RS polls started, Congress fielded their second candidate even without consulting JDS, even though they dont have the full numbers. Even before the filing of nomination, Devegowda ji requested Sonia Gandhi to support our candidate."
He added, "On June 2, Congress general secretary for Karnataka requested me to transfer the second preferential vote to their candidate. I agreed to the request. Then when we started to calculate the mathematical equation, we realised our second preference vote will not help the Congress candidate because the Congress candidate will be eliminated in the elimination process itself, in that case the second preference vote will be of no help. Even then i requested we will transfer our second preference vote to Congress, but you also direct your MLAs to give their second preference vote to the JDS contestant."
Any candidate requires 45 votes to win the Rajya Sabha polls in Karnataka. The BJP will be left with 32 surplus votes after getting Nirmala Sitharaman and Jaggesh elected to the RS. The Congress will have 24 votes in hand. The JDS with 32 votes cannot get its candidate through without Congress' backing, which has also fielded its candidate.
In this case, the second preference votes have become crucial, as the fight for the fourth candidate could go down to the wire.