Vijay Mallya Enters RS Fray

Vijay Mallya Enters RS Fray
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya today filed his nomination papers as JDS-backed independent candidate for the June 17 biennial elections to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.

Flanked by former chief minister and Karnataka unit JDS president H D Kumaraswamy and his brother H D Revanna, who is leader of the 27-member JDS legislature group in the Assembly, Mallya submitted the papers to the Returning Officer.

"There is nothing dramatic in my candidature. I have represented Karnataka before. I was supported by JDS before and now also as well," a beaming Mallya, a former Rajya Sabha member, told reporters after submitting his nomination.

Asked how confident he was of winning, he quipped, "If I were not confident, then I would not be here."

Mallya needs to drum up the support of 20 more MLAs for his victory in the first round besides getting 27 votes from JDS with whose support he had won the Raya Sabha seat earlier.

JDS decided to support Mallya at a party meeting today, Kumaraswamy told reporters.

"Vijay Mallya has asked for our support. Based on his request we are supporting him," he said.

"This is politics. Without a strategy, I would not have come to file nomination papers," Mallya said when asked whether he was in talks with MLAs of other parties.

JDS held talks with Congress in recent days for a tie-up for the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha elections, but it did not materialise, Kumaraswamy said, defending his party backing Mallya.

JDS was keen on getting a second seat in the Legislative Council from Congress to support the latter in Rajya Sabha polls, but the talks failed.

Seven candidates - four from BJP, two Congress and a JDS nominee - have already been elected uncontested to the Legislative Council.

Independent MLA Varthur Prakash, who was backing the BJP government but later turned against it, has also extended support to Mallya's candidature.

BJP is holding its two-day state-level Executive Committee meeting at Belgaum where the party would debate on the Rajya Sabha elections also.

Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has already filed his nomination from Karnataka for the elections to fill four vacancies for which five candidates are contesting.

Opposition Congress fielded its second candidate for the polls with T V Maruthi, a businessmen, also filing his nominations on the last day for filing of papers.

Asked how the party would mobilise support for its second candidate Maruthi, Karnataka PCC president R V Deshpande said, "Please wait and see."

The BJP has fielded its senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu and the state unit party spokesman Ayanur Manjunath. It has at least 30 surplus votes.
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