Even as the embers of the general elections are yet to die down - with results awaited - parties in Karnataka are gearing up for the next round of crucial elections. In the 75-member Karnataka Vidhan Parishad, Congress and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are locked in a contest to seize control of the house. 

The Karnataka Vidhana Parishad of the Upper House, the Legislative Council, will witness two elections in June.  Eleven members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) will be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) on June 13. 

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are also in head-to-head in contest for six seats - three each from graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies. The polling for the same will be held on June 3, and votes will be counted on June 6. The outgoing members are expected to step down on June 21. 

As of now, the BJP holds a narrow lead in the Karnataka Vidhan Parishad with 32 seats. Along with its NDA ally, the JDS, which has 9 seats, they have managed to prevent the government from passing certain bills.

However, in the upcoming polls, Congress is slated to win seven out of the 11 seats because of its substantial majority in the legislative assembly. The BJP and the JDS though are expected to secure three and one seat(s) respectively. 

“Based on the strength of each political party in the assembly, Congress should get seven seats in the upcoming elections. As far as the graduates and teachers’ constituency elections are concerned, we are likely to win a majority of the seats despite a close fight from the BJP-JDS alliance,” said BL Shankar, a Congress spokesperson. 

Currently, Congress holds only one seat in the said quota. Despite this, each party is confident of winning most of the graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies’ seats. 

BJP spokesperson S Prakash commented, “The BJP has always had an upper hand in the graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies. As the ruling party, they will claim to win most seats. Any political party has to be hopeful and claim any numbers favourable to them. But the records have been in our preference.”  

However, Political Analyst Harish Ramaswamy argued that JDS will be a losing factor in the alliance. “The first thing is that the JDS and BJP alliance is not liked by many, because they have understood that this has taken away the identity of JDS. Number two is the Prajwal Revanna incident which has hurt the sentiments of a lot of people. And number three, most people supporting JDS, especially in the Vokkaliga belt, feel the party won’t sustain in the future.” He added that the JDS has always sensed its diminishing power, which is not good for Karnataka because the state needs a third alternative. The tieup with BJP has made JDS’ revival more unlikely. 

Commenting on the MLC elections, Ramaswamy said, “Yeah, this is quite possible. They have a majority, that’s one thing. Also, the mood is in favor of them, especially concerning the graduates constituencies.” 

A clearer picture on who will control the upper house is likely to emerge after the conclusion of the current round of polls.

(With inputs from BL Intern Nivasini Azagappan)