Bangalore: Stage is set for the June 17
biennial elections for four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka
with five candidates, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, in
the fray at the end of withdrawal of nominations today.
Given its strength in the Legislative Assembly, BJP is
assured of victory of its two candidates -- M Venkaiah Naidu
and Ayanur Manjunath, while Congress would have no difficulty
in getting Oscar Fernandes re-elected.
The contest is now between JD(S)-backed Mallya and the
Congress party`s second candidate T V Maruthi.
Mallya counts on surplus votes of BJP to romp home but the
ruling party in Karnataka has not disclosed its mind and
apparently left it to the party high command to take a call on
whether to support the UB Group chairman.
Twenty-seven JD-S MLAs and Independent MLA Varthur Prakash
have pledged support to Mallya, who now needs 17 more votes as
a candidate needs 45 first preference votes to get elected.
BJP has enough excess votes to see Mallya sail through,
while Maruthi is short of 16 votes for victory.
On the day of filing nominations, Mallya expressed
confidence of victory, maintaining that he would not have
entered the race otherwise.