Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and two Bharatiya Janata Party candidates were on Friday elected unopposed to four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka, PTI reported. The ruling BJP chose two new MPs – Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti – for the Rajya Sabha seats.

Karnataka Legislative Assembly Secretary MK Vishalakshi, who is also the returning officer for the Rajya Sabha elections, declared the results. “HD Deve Gowda, Kharge, Gasti and Kadadi have been duly elected to fill the seats in the Upper House in place of Kupendra Reddy of Janata Dal (Secular), BK Hariprasad and Rajeev Gowda of the Congress, and Prabhakar Kore of the BJP, who are retiring on June 25 on the expiration of their term of office,” he was quoted as saying by IANS.

This will be the first Rajya Sabha term for Kharge and the second for HD Deve Gowda. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, both the leaders were defeated from their parliamentary constituencies.

Kharge thanked his party and the people after his election. “I am very grateful to Madam Sonia Gandhi ji and Rahul Gandhi ji who have given me this opportunity to serve in Rajya Sabha on behalf of the Congress party,” he told NDTV. “I also pay my gratitude to the people of Karnataka who have given me a chance to serve a long time in parliament and assembly. I hope to live up to their expectations. I will highlight the problems of Karnataka and the country as a whole in parliament.”

The elections to the four seats were scheduled for June 19, but no voting was necessary as the parties didn’t field additional candidates and limited their contest to the number of seats based on their Assembly strength.

The BJP has 117 members in the Karnataka Assembly in addition to the Speaker. The JD(S) has 34 seats in the Assembly. A candidate needs at least 45 votes to win.