Opposition in state BJP against allotment of tickets to disqualified MLAs

Team Udayavani, Sep 25, 2019, 10:06 AM IST

Bengaluru: Even as the fate of 17 disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court with respect to their eligibility to contest the October 21 bypolls in Karnataka, there is growing opposition within the state BJP against giving tickets to them.

The saffron party that came to power with the help of these 17 disqualified MLAs, plans to field most them as candidates in the by-polls after getting respite from the Apex Court, where they have challenged their disqualification.

In case of not getting any relief, there is a plan to field one of their family members as candidates, party sources said.

However, there is resistance to the move in several constituencies, from ticket aspirants and party candidates defeated during the 2018 assembly polls, stating that tickets should be given to loyal party cadres who have worked to build it.

Hosakote is one among the key constituencies, where the party is facing such situation, as supporters of Sharath Bachegowda, who was the BJP candidate during 2018 assembly polls and faced defeat, thronged Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s residence and demanding ticket for their leader.

Supporters vehemently opposed any move by the party to allot ticket to disqualified legislator M T B Nagaraj, and even reportedly suggested party leadership that they were even okay with making him MLC and Minister, but not a MLA.

Bachegowda’s supporters even threatened that he may contest independently if the party denied him ticket, even as his father reportedly met Yediyurappa amid reports that the Congress was trying to lure his son.

Similar resistance has been witnessed in Mahalakshmi Layout, Kagawada, Yeshwanthpur among others.

However, senior BJP leaders are hopeful that the party’s local leaders and workers would be taken into confidence about ticket allotment to disqualified MLAs.

“We are hopeful that our party men will understand, they know the situation and how crucial this election is for the party to stay in power.. it is because of the resignation of these MLAs, BJP was able to come to power,” a senior party functionary said.

By-elections to constituencies represented by 15 out of 17 disqualified former Congress-JD(S) legislators would be held on October 21 and results would be declared on October 24.

The 15 constituencies that will go to polls are Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagara, Chikkaballapura, K R Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, K R Pete, Hunsur.

Among the 15 constituencies going for polls, 12 were represented by Congress and 3 by JD(S).

Winning most seats in this by-elections is crucial for BJP to stay in power.

The ruling party has a 105 MLAs (including one independent) in the assembly whose current strength is 208 (after 17 disqualifications).

While the Congress’ strength is 66, JD(S) has 34 MLAs in the Assembly that also consists of one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker.

The actual strength of the assembly is 225 and the halfway mark is 113.

BJP will need to win at least six seats in the bypolls for 15 constituencies, to remain in the majority in the assembly, which will still have two vacant seats (Maski and R R Nagar).

Absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy headed coalition government in July, and helped BJP to come to power.

After examining the petition moved by the leadership of both parties, the then Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs and one independent under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

The matter will come up before the court on Wednesday.

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