Five candidates, including three from the ruling Congress and one each from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) filed nominations for the biennial election to four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka, an EC official said on Monday.
"Of the five candidates, four have filed nominations on the last date (Monday), including three from the Congress and one from the BJP, while JD-S candidate B.M. Farooq had filed nomination on March 9," the Election Commission (EC) official told IANS here.
The Congress candidates are L. Hanumanthaiah, G.C. Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain, and BJP candidate is Rajeev Chandrashekar, who is seeking a second term, as his first term as an Independent member ends on April 2.
The election has been necessitated to fill the vacancies arising out of retirement of incumbent members Basawaraj Patil, Rahman Khan and R. Ramakrishna of the Congress, and Chandrasekhar.
"The nomination papers will be scrutinised on Tuesday and the last date for withdrawal of candidates is on Thursday. Polling and counting of votes will be held on March 23 for all the four seats," added the official.
In the 225-member state legislative assembly, including one nominated, the Congress has 122 legislators, BJP 48 and JD-S 37. Of all, 7 seats are vacant.
As each candidate needs 45 votes to win the contest, the Congress is in a position to get two of its nominees elected easily, while its third candidate with 37 votes will have to get 13 more votes to make up for the shortfall.
"We are banking on the votes of eight Independents and seven rebel JD-S legislators to ensure the victory of our third candidate," said a Congress leader.
With Chandrashekar assured of victory by virtue of the BJP having 48 votes, the contest will be for the fourth seat between the Congress and the JD-S, whose strength got reduced to 37 after three of its members were suspended for revolting against its leadership.
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda is the JD-S supremo and his second son and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is its working president.
BJP's allies the BSR (Congress) and the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), floated by its former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, have three seats and two seats, respectively.
The JD-S also fears cross-voting by some of its members in favour of the ruling Congress' third nominee.