Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) All four candidates of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two of the opposition Congress and one of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) were elected unopposed to fill seven vacancies in the Karnataka Legislative Council, an official said on Monday.
“As there was no withdrawal of nominations even on the last date, i.e., Monday, candidates of the BJP, Congress and JD-S have been elected unopposed in the biennial election to the Council by Returning Officer M.K. Vishalakshi,” a poll official told IANS here.
The scheduled polling on June 29 will not be held.
In the recent biennial elections to four Rajya Sabha seats, the four candidates — 2 from the BJP and one each from the Congress and the JD-S — were also declared unopposed on June 12 after the last day of withdrawal of nominations on the same day, averting the need for polls on Friday.
The BJP’s candidates for the Council were N. Nagaraju, R. Shankar, Sunil Vallyapur and K. Pratap Simha Nayak, while of the Congress had fielded B.K. Hariprasad and Naseer Ahmed and the JD-S Govinda Raju.
Though two independents (P.C. Krishnegowda and Mandikkal Nagaraja) also filed nominations for the contest, their papers were rejected at the scrutiny on June 19, as they were invalid for want of 10 sponsoring legislators.
Nagaraju, a former Congress rebel, who also lost in the assembly by-election from Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district on a BJP ticket, was Housing Minister in the 14-month-old JD-S-Congress coalition government, which fell on July 23, 2019 after 17 rebel MLAs resigned then.
In his affidavit, Nagaraju declared assets valued at Rs 1,220 crore, making him one of the richest lawmakers in the southern state.
Shankar, who was an Independent member and minister in the former coalition government, was not given the BJP ticket to contest in the December assembly bypolls though he too resigned from the Ranebennur assembly seat in Haveri district, with the Congress and JD-S rebels.
Vallyapur is the party’s grass-root leader from Chincholi in Gulbarga district.
Nayak is also a grassroot cadre who rose from the ranks to become BJP’s Dakshina Kannada district chief.
Hariprasad is an outgoing Rajya Sabha member whose fourth 6-year term ends on June 25 and Ahmed is a sitting Council member whom the party has re-nominated for his services.
Raju from Kolar, about 100km east Bengaluru, is a long-time member of the JD-S.
Of the 7 outgoing members, 5 are from the Congress and 1 each from the JD-S and an independent.
With 116 legislators in the 225-member state legislative assembly, the election of all the BJP nominees was expected as each of them required 28 votes to win.
Similarly, with 68 lawmakers in the lower house, election of Hariprasad and Ahmed of the Congress was also smooth.
With 34 MLAs, election of Raju of JD-S was certain.
In the 75-member Council, the opposition Congress has 37, BJP 19, JD-S 16, two Independents and one Chairman.
After the new members take oath, BJP’s strength will increase to 23, while that of Congress reduces to 35 and JD-S retains its lone seat.
In a related development, the Election Commission on June 8 postponed the biennial elections to the four Council seats from 2 Graduates’ and 2 Teachers’ constituencies due to Covid-induced lockdown restrictions though their term too ends on June 30.
Five more vacancies from the state Governor-nominated category is also due, as the 6-year term of the incumbents ends on June 30.