The run-up to the Rajya Sabha election this year is tainted by corruption charges. The legislators from Karnataka were allegedly caught on tape demanding bribe in exchange of their votes in sting operations.
However, no money were exchanged on the camera.
The sting operations by a private news channels exposed the corruption in electing members to the Upper House. JD(S) legislators, Mallikarjun Khuba and G.T. Deve Gowda, B.R. Patil from Karnataka Janata Party and Varthur Prakash, an Independent were shown in the sting video aired on the India Today channel.
Of 57 seats, which will go to the polls on June 11, Karnataka gets to send four candidates to the Upper House. Each candidate need 45 votes to secure their nomination. While the Congress is set to win two seats and the BJP one, the heavy lobbying is underway for the fourth seat.
The fight for the fourth seat boils down between Congress's nominee retired IPS officer K. C. Ramamurthy and JD(S)'s B. M. Farook, a businessman from Mangaluru.
While Khuba candidly quoted his price, which was more than Rs 5 crore, Gowda's aide, who was identified as his son-in-law Ram, was seen inquiring can the 'lobbyists' go as high as Rs 10 crore. Two other MLAs were also showed allegedly discussing bribe money in the sting video.
Another sting video by Times Now showed how votes are bought from Independents through favours in guise of development.
"JD(S) offered me Rs 7 crore for voting for their candidate. But the Congress will give me Rs 100 crore for my constituency development. They will even offer me some chairman post of some board, that is what they are saying,” an MLA said in the sting video.
The JD(S) with 40 MLAs was already short of five votes to secure a Rajya Sabha seat for its sole nominee. However, infighting within the party deprived it of five more votes as last week Z. A. Zameer Ahmed Khan openly declaring his support to Ramamurthy.
The Congress with the strength of 123 MLAs in 225-member House has surplus of 33 votes after ensuring victory for former central ministers Oscar Fernandes and Jairam Ramesh. The BJP with 44 MLAs and support of two Independents, meanwhile, is assured of a seat for its nominee Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Congress eying to bag the third with its surplus votes and support of 'rebel' JD(S) MLAs, small-time parties and Independents.