Bangalore: Stage is set for the 17 June biennial elections for four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka with five candidates, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, in the fray at the end of withdrawal of nominations on Tuesday.
Given its strength in the Legislative Assembly, BJP is assured of victory of its two candidates -- M Venkaiah Naidu and Ayanur Manjunath, while Congress would have no difficulty in getting Oscar Fernandes re-elected.
The contest is now between JD(S)-backed Mallya and the Congress party’s second candidate T.V. Maruthi.
Mallya counts on surplus votes of BJP to romp home but the ruling party in Karnataka has not disclosed its mind and apparently left it to the party high command to take a call on whether to support the UB Group chairman.
Twenty-seven JD-S MLAs and Independent MLA Varthur Prakash have pledged support to Mallya, who now needs 17 more votes as a candidate needs 45 first preference votes to get elected.
BJP has enough excess votes to see Mallya sail through, while Maruthi is short of 16 votes for victory.
On the day of filing nominations, Mallya expressed confidence of victory, maintaining that he would not have entered the race otherwise.