Liquor baron Vijay Mallya enters Rajya Sabha fray

Vijay Mallya today filed his nomination papers as JDS-backed independent candidate.

Last Updated: Jun 07, 2010, 19:15 PM IST

Bangalore: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya today
filed his nomination papers as JDS-backed independent
candidate for the June 17 biennial elections to Rajya Sabha
from Karnataka.

Flanked by former Chief Minister and Karnataka unit JDS
president H D Kumaraswamy and his brother H D Revanna, who is
leader of the 27-member JDS legislature group in the Assembly,
Mallya submitted the papers to the Returning Officer.

"There is nothing dramatic in my candidature. I have
represented Karnataka before. I was supported by JDS before
and now also as well," a beaming Mallya, a former Rajya Sabha
member, told reporters after submitting his nomination.

Asked how confident he was of winning, he quipped, "If I
were not confident, then I would not be here."

Mallya needs to drum up the support of 20 more MLAs for
his victory in the first round besides getting 27 votes from
JDS with whose support he had won the Raya Sabha seat earlier.
JDS decided to support Mallya at a party meeting today,
Kumaraswamy told reporters.

"Vijay Mallya has asked for our support. Based on his
request we are supporting him," he said.

"This is politics. Without a strategy, I would not have
come to file nomination papers," Mallya said when asked
whether he was in talks with MLAs of other parties.

JDS held talks with Congress in recent days for a tie-up
for the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha elections, but it
did not materialise, Kumaraswamy said, defending his party
backing Mallya.

JDS was keen on getting a second seat in the Legislative
Council from Congress to support the latter in Rajya Sabha
polls, but the talks failed.

Seven candidates-- four from BJP, two Congress and a JDS
nominee -- have already been elected uncontested to the
Legislative Council.

Independent MLA Varthur Prakash, who was backing the BJP
government but later turned against it, has also extended
support to Mallya`s candidature.

BJP is holding its two-day state-level Executive
Committee meeting at Belgaum where the party would debate on
the Rajya Sabha elections also.

Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has already filed his
nomination from Karnataka for the elections to fill four
vacancies for which five candidates are contesting.

Opposition Congress fielded its second candidate for the
polls with T V Maruthi, a businessmen, also filing his
nominations on the last day for filing of papers.

Asked how the party would mobilise support for its second
candidate Maruthi, Karnataka PCC president R V Deshpande said,
"Please wait and see."

The BJP has fielded its senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu
and the state unit party spokesman Ayanur Manjunath. It has at
least 30 surplus votes.