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BJP inches closer to gaining majority in Council with polls round the corner

By Sharath S. Srivatsa, K.V. Aditya Bharadwaj

Having come close to getting a simple majority in the Karnataka Legislative Council in the elections held to 25 seats from the local authorities in December last year, the BJP has more chances in the coming weeks to secure majority for the first time in the Upper House.

While elections to seven seats to be elected from the Legislative Assembly was declared by the Election Commission on Tuesday as the members are retiring upon completing their term, elections to four more seats where members are set to retire are round the corner. Election will also be announced shortly for one vacant seat.

Elections to four graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies are scheduled to be announced by the Election Commission shortly as the members are retiring on July 4. Of the eight members elected from the Assembly, seven members are completing their term on June 14 and the term of one seat that has fallen vacant due to the resignation of C.M. Ibrahim will be till June 17, 2024. Among those who are retiring on July 4 is Legislative Council Chairman Basavaraj Horatti, who has been elected on JD(S) ticket but will be contesting from BJP this time.

Current strength

Currently, with 37 members, the BJP is one short of a simple majority in the 75-member Upper House. Of the 11 retiring members, four each are from BJP and JD(S) and three are from Congress, and the ruling BJP has to ensure victory in five of the 12 seats to wrest control in the Upper House.

“As per the election formula to be applied for electing members from the Legislative Assembly, the BJP with 121 members (including the Speaker) is sure of winning four seats as 29 votes are required to win a seat. The BJP will also win the seat that has fallen vacant due to resignation when a separate election notification is done,” a Secretariat source said.

A senior BJP MLC said: “Of the four graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies going to polls, the BJP has an edge in three, which will give us a comfortable majority. We might end up with 41 seats in the Council.”

Intense lobbying

Meanwhile, lobbying has begun in parties ahead of the polls for eight seats from the Assembly. While Congress sources said that at least eight party leaders, including some sitting members, are lobbying for the party nomination, decision to nominate will be taken after the election schedule is announced. The Congress with 69 members in the Assembly can win two seats where as it is holding three seats currently, and it had also held the vacated seat in the Council.

In BJP, the senior leader said that though nearly a dozen leaders are vying for nominations, it could be surprise selection by the high command. The JD(S), which has two seats currently, can win one seat, and party sources said that two leaders are trying for nominations.

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