It’s Sadananda vs Anand for Council, but CM has got it made

Rebel leader and independent MLA B Sriramulu has decided not to force his BJP supporters to violate their party whip.

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The ever-smiling Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda is almost certain to have the last laugh in the forthcoming legislative council by-poll. The fears of a large-scale cross-voting by BJP MLAs is slowly fizzling out as the rebel leader and independent MLA B Sriramulu has decided not to force his BJP supporters to violate their party whip.

Sadananda Gowda on Monday filed his nomination papers and Congress has fielded young Anand Gaddadevaramatha as his rival. Congress is hoping to get the support of JD(S) and Sriramulu, who has claimed to have the support of 22 BJP MLAs.

However, JD(S) has so far refrained from announcing its support to Congress candidate and Sriramulu too is showing signs of giving up his belligerence.

With 121 seats in the 225-member strong legislative assembly, Sadananda Gowda is expected to have a smooth sailing as the combined strength of Congress (71) and JD(S) (26) is nowhere near the magic number of 113 needed to defeat Sadananda Gowda.

The house has seven independent members. While one of them – Varthur Prakash – is a minister who is certain to vote for Gowda, another independent Sriramulu is set to vote for Congress candidate. Even if Congress succeeds in enlisting the support of the remaining five independents, its tally will reach 102 – well short of the required numbers to defeat Gowda.

Congress is banking on Sriramulu to dethrone Gowda, but there are no takers for Sriramulu’s claims of enjoying the support of 22 BJP MLAs.

At best, the number is said to be less than 10 and Sriramulu is in no mood to cause any damage to political careers of his supporters. This is because those who violate the party whip will lose their assembly membership. That explains Sriramulu’s statement that he would not force his friends in BJP to violate the whip.

With the clouds of uncertainty over Gowda’s victory almost blowing over, his entry into state legislature is almost assured in the December 22 by-polls.

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