Rajya Sabha polls: BJP may support Mallya, backs Jethmalani

The BJP on Tuesday indicated that it may support independent candidate and liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The BJP on Tuesday indicated that it may support independent candidate and liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka.

Senior party leader Ananth Kumar said that the party`s aim was to defeat the Congress.

"No decision has been taken about Karnataka...Our aim is that Congress loses wherever it is," Kumar said here.

The BJP has fielded M. Venkaiah Naidu and Ayanur Manjunath as its two candidates from Karnataka.

Mallya, who has entered the fray with the support of the Janata Dal-Secular, needs the support of the BJP to make it to the Rajya Sabha.

The Congress has announced Oscar Fernandes and T.V. Maruthi as its two candidates for the June 17 polls to the four Rajya Sabha seats from the state.

Asked about the party having gathered its Rajasthan legislators in a resort ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in that state, Kumar said all BJP legislators were with the party.

"We will win two seats in Rajasthan," he said.

Ram Jethmalani is party RS candidate from Rajasthan

BJP also stood firm behind noted
lawyer Ram Jethmalani, its Rajya Sabha candidate from
Rajasthan, and denied it was holding up its MLAs in a resort
to ensure they do not indulge in cross-voting in the polls.

"Ram Jethmalani is our official candidate. This was a
collective decision taken by our Party President Nitin Gadkari
after consultations with the central and the Rajasthan party
units. The final word came from the Parliamentary Board. We
don`t expect any problems at all," BJP spokesperson Nirmala
Sitaraman told PTI.

She was replying to a question on whether the BJP was
convinced that Jethmalani would win the Rajya Sabha poll as
its candidate from Rajasthan.

When asked why BJP MLAs were being kept together in a
resort before the polling, Sitaraman said, "this is a
procedural thing that they are being hosted in one place. It
is a common thing to do so. There is nothing more to read into
this. Jethmalani will continue to be our candidate."

In the 200-seat House, the ruling Congress has 102
members, BJP (79), CPI-M (3), JD-U(1), Loktantrik Samajwadi
Party (1) and SP (1).

There are 13 Independents, of which ten have been
supporting the Congress. Each candidate requires 41 first
preference votes to win the seat

The BJP, which has 79 MLAs, is sure of the success of one
of its two candidates--VP Singh and Jethmalani--a founding
member who returned to the party only to contest the poll. It
needs three more votes.

JD(U) MLA Fateh Singh has also expressed support to BJP
in the election as the two parties are in alliance. 67 BJP
MLAs have been put up in the hotel where 87-year-old
Jethmalani was interacting with the MLAs, seeking their votes.

With every vote counting, both the sides have stepped up
their efforts to woo members. The decision of CPI(M) which has
three MLAs to abstain from voting has added uncertainty in the

Jethmalani, a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee
government and had contested against him in the 2004 Lok Sabha
elections, has expressed confidence about his election.

"It is not a question of do or die. The party has given
me a chance. I have full faith in MLAs, will win and work for
public," said.

-Agencies inputs

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