Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, Karnataka Congress MLA files bribery case against JD(S)-BJP candidate | Bangalore News – DollarJob

Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, Karnataka Congress MLA files bribery case against JD(S)-BJP candidate | Bangalore News

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A Congress MLA in Karnataka has filed a complaint of bribery and criminal intimidation against a candidate fielded by the Opposition JD(S) and BJP for the February 27 elections to the Rajya Sabha.

Ravikumar Ganiga, MLA for Mandya in south Karnataka, has alleged that JD(S)-BJP candidate D Kupendra Reddy approached him and a few independent MLAs to cross-vote in the polls slated for next week.

An FIR based on the complaint was registered by the Bengaluru Vidhana Soudha police on Tuesday. It has named D Kupendra Reddy and three associates — Ravi, Mahantesh and Shivashankar — among others in the case.

The JD(S) and the BJP have fielded a fifth candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls despite lacking the numbers to elect the nominee. According to the complaint by the MLA, the two parties are now attempting to force a few Congress MLAs with the offer of bribes and threats to divert their votes away from the designated party candidates.

As part of the conspiracy, a local hotel owner has approached independent MLA Lata Mallikarjun, who is an associate member of the Congress, with an offer of a cash payment on behalf of Kupendra Reddy for voting for him in the Rajya Sabha polls, the complaint alleged.

Festive offer

Latha Mallikarjun has also been approached through other close relatives and associates to cross-vote in the Rajya Sabha polls. Two other independent MLAs — Puttaswamy Gowda and Darshan Puttanaiah, who are associated with the Congress — have also been approached similarly, the Congress MLA has alleged.

The entry of real estate businessman D Kupendra Reddy, 63, who has assets worth Rs 1,200 crore according to his election affidavit, into the Rajya Sabha poll fray in Karnataka, despite the weak numbers of his backers (the Opposition JD(S) and BJP), has forced a five-way race for the four Parliament seats from Karnataka.

With each candidate needing 45 votes from the 224 MLAs to win the biennial polls to the Rajya Sabha, the Congress with 135 MLAs has the exact number to elect its three candidates — Ajay Maken, GC Chandrashekhar and Nasir Hussain. The Congress also has the support of three other MLAs — Latha Mallikarjun, Puttaswamy Gowda and Darshan Puttanaiah — who are allied with the Congress.

The BJP has 66 MLAs and can easily elect its main candidate, Narayansa Bhandage, a party worker, and allot its excess votes to Kupendra Reddy, who can reach around 40 votes with the backing of the 19 JD(S) MLAs.

Reddy, however, will need to win over the three independents with the Congress and get at least three other Congress MLAs to cross-vote or stay away to win the polls.

In the 2022 Rajya Sabha polls, a tacit alliance between Congress and BJP leaders resulted in two JD(S) MLAs being wooed to cross-vote against Kupendra Reddy, then filed by the JDS.

“We know who he is calling, who he is talking to and who he is threatening. Our MLAs have informed us about the offers made to them. We are also aware of the BJP’s strategy,” state Congress chief DK Shivakumar said this week about alleged efforts by JD(S) state chief and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy to woo MLAs allied with the Congress.

The JD(S) state president travelled to New Delhi on Thursday to meet BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The Rajya Sabha polls and the police complaint are expected to feature in the talks between the two leaders.



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