16 Disqualified Karnataka MLAs Join BJP; 13 Get Tickets for Bypoll
Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the disqualification of the MLAs but allowed them to contest the upcoming bypolls.
A day after Supreme Court paved way for them to contest the 5 December Assembly bypolls in Karnataka, 16 disqualified Congress-JD(S) legislators on Thursday, 14 November, joined the BJP.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, state BJP Chief Nalin Kumar Kateel and National General Secretary In Charge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Rao were among those who welcomed them to the party fold.
BJP, that aims to win a majority of the 15 constituencies where bypolls will be held, is likely to field most of the MLAs in question as the party candidates.
However, R Roshan Baig, a disqualified Congress legislator from Shivajinagar, was not inducted into the party on Thursday. BJP sources cited “reservations” expressed by party leadership over Baig, who is facing inquiry in the IMA Ponzi Scam, among the reasons for his non-induction.
Interestingly, Baig, a seven-time legislator, on Wednesday claimed he will be joining BJP with the other legislators.
13 Disqualified MLAs Given BJP Tickets
Hours after the 16 rebel MLAs joined the BJP, the party announced the first list of candidates for the 5 December bypolls. In the first list, 13 disqualified MLAs were offered tickets. All of them have been given tickets in the same constituencies they represented during their tenure in the JD(S)-Congress coalition government.
15 out of the 17 constituencies represented by these MLAs will be going for bypolls, while by-elections to Maski and RR Nagar constituencies have been withheld due to separate cases relating to them being pending before the High Court.
Earlier, it was rumoured that Baig or his son Ruman would get the ticket from BJP. Ruman had even started campaigning on behalf of BJP in the constituency a few weeks ago.
On Wednesday, Ruman had even put out a Facebook post requesting people’s attendance to him and his father’s induction into BJP. However, their names were missing from the list, on Thursday.
On Thursday evening, BJP announced M Sharavana, a BBMP corporator from Usloor ward, as their candidate from Shivajinagar.
The disqualified MLA from Ranebennur was Independent R Shankar, who had earlier merged himself with the Congress.
SC Judgment & BJP’s Invitation
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka by the then Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar but allowed them to contest the bypolls.
While upholding their disqualification, the apex court set aside the portion of the orders by Kumar which said the legislators were disqualified till the end of the the current Assembly's term ie, 2023.
The disqualified Congress MLAs who joined BJP are are – Pratap Gowda Patil (Maski), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), S T Somashekar (Yeshwanthpur), Byrati Basavaraj (K R Puram), Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), N Munirathna (R R Nagar), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Kumatalli (Athani) and R Shankar (Ranibennur).
JD(S) members who joined the party are – K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), AH Vishwanath (Hunsur) and KC Narayana Gowda (K R Pet).
Bypolls to 15 of the 17 seats represented by disqualified MLAs, whose resignation and absence from the trust vote had lead to the collapse of H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July, will be held on 5 December.
Disgruntled BJP Leader to Contest Against Party in Hoskote
In Hoskote, BJP's rebel and defeated candidate in 2018 Assembly polls Sharath Bachegowda has decided to contest the bypolls independently, with JD(S) also expressing its intention to support him.
In Kagwad, former BJP MLA Raju Kage has decided to quit the party and join Congress, which he has claimed has assured him a ticket.
BJP will need to win at least seven out of these 15 seats to remain in power.
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