The stage is set for the February 9 election to the post of Karnataka Legislative Council Chairman, with JD(S) MLC Basavaraj Horatti, supported by BJP and Congress' Naseer Ahmed filing their nominations on Monday. According to the official notification, today was the date for filing of nominations.
Horatti, flanked by BJP and JD(S) MLCs, including Ministers Kota Srinivas Poojary and MTB Nagaraj, filed his papers before the Council Secretary, while Ahmed was accompanied by Congress legislators.
The election was necessitated following the resignation of Congress' K Prathapachandra Shetty as the Chairman on February 4 to pre empt a no-confidence motion against him by the ruling BJP, and JD(S) extending support to it.
Though Horatti is most certain to win as the numbers are clearly on his side, the opposition Congress, with the aim of ensuring a contest, has fielded Ahmed.
During the Council Deputy Chairman election too, Congress has fielded its candidate and had said it was with an intention to "expose" the JD(S) and its secular credentials. Both BJP and JD(S) have joined hands for the Council Chairman and Deputy Chairman's posts.
As per the arrangement, BJP MLC M K Pranesh was on January 29 elected as the Deputy Chairman with the backing of JD(S), and now the ruling party will return the favour by supporting the regional party nominee, Horatti.
BJP sources said the party agreed to support Horatti as Chairman instead of seeking the post for itself in return for JD(S)' support in its move to oust Shetty and ensure passage of certain key bills.
The earlier move by both parties in December to remove Shetty as Chairman did not succeed as their notice of no-confidence was rejected on technical grounds.
The House had witnessed high drama that day with BJP-JDS and Congress members hurling abuses and pushing each other.
Amid the ruckus on December 15, the then Deputy Chairman Dharme Gowda, who is now no more, was even pulled down from the Chair.
Currently the ruling BJP is the single largest party in the Council with 31 seats, followed by Congress with 29, JD(S) 13, one independent and one vacant (due to death of Dharme Gowda).