Former Prime Minister Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda’s gameplan of somehow managing to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from the native state of Karnataka doesn’t appear to a bed of roses all the way. As of now, it only looks like a daydream without the blessings of Indian National Congress (INC) president Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
HD Devegowda, a 24×7 politician, can hardly withstand being out of power or party politics at any given point of his political career spanning 67 years. He recently celebrated his 87th birthday without much fanfare, thanks to the lockdown stipulations due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
He moved to the neighbouring Tumakuru Lok Sabha constituency during the previous Parliamentary elections in May 2019, when he decided to handover his home bastion of Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna.
However, he was defeated in Tumakuru. This was his third defeat after demitting the prime minister’s position. Earlier he was humbled in Hassan and Kanakpura Lok Sabha constituencies.
This possibly could be his last chance to enter the Parliament according to political observers. But going by the numbers in the state Assembly, the prospects of national president of the Janata Dal-Secular regional outfit don’t look optimistic.
There would be four vacancies from the state to Rajya Sabha for which elections are slated to be held in coming June. Prabhakar Kore (Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP), BK Hariprasad, Prof MV Rajeev Gowda (both INC) and Kupendra Reddy [Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S)] had represented these positions and their six years term has come to a close.
According to informed sources, Prabhakar Kore who was elected twice on the saffron party ticket may not be renominated by the party. He had quit the INC after being denied renomination to the Rajya Sabha and got elected to the upper house after crossing over to the BJP.
He is said to be replaced by Prof M Nagaraj belonging to the North Karnataka region. A former Engineering Professor, M Nagaraj is said to owe allegiance to the Sangh Parivar apart from having his own contributions for the development of organizations and the party.
The second candidate said to be from southern Karnataka may be left to the choice of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. However, someone with meaningful accomplishments in specialized fields with Sangha background is bound to emerge as the frontrunner, say party sources.
BK Hariprasad is said to be lobbying with the party high command for another renomination. However, Siddaramaiah, former chief minister and leader of the opposition in the state Assembly is said to be keen in sending VS Ugrappa to the Rajya Sabha.
The animosity between BK Hariprasad and Siddaramaiah is no public secret while the tussle between the loyal Congressmen and newcomers continue to haunt the century-plus-year old party.
In the given situation, the ruling BJP can easily snatch two seats while there is no problem for the INC in winning one seat. But Janata Dal-Secular with 34 Members of Legislative Assembly is in no position to grab the fourth seat on the numerical strength of its own.
In that way, the INC is left with 20 extra votes. If these are extended to the JD(S), there would no hiccup for the JD(S) patriarch. It is also rumoured that the former prime minister will approach the INC president to do the favour.
In case the ruling BJP eyes open the third seat and pit a heavyweight, the ploy will ultimately upset the Gowda strongman’s applecart. And to ensure that such a danger is not thrust upon the only option left to him would be to bow before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central leaders of the ruling party.
The party position in the state Assembly is as follows:
Total Strength: 224
Current Strength: 222 (including an Anglo Indian having no voting rights)
To win the Rajya Sabha elections a candidate needs 48 votes. Since JD(S) lacks 14 votes INC is said to be extending support to the Janata Dal-Secular party nominee. In that case, there will be no doubt for HD Devegowda in making it to the Rajya Sabha once again.