Will win most of the 15 seats in bypolls: BJP state prez

Team Udayavani, Dec 9, 2019, 9:06 AM IST

Hubballi: BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel on Sunday said, “We will win all the 15 seats in the by-election”.

Addressing presspersons here, Nalin said, “We will win all the 15 seats in the byelection. I have travelled through all constituencies and seen the enthusiasm of our workers and voters.”

The bypolls were held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

BJP had fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators, who joined the party after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the bypolls, as its candidates from their constituencies from where they had won the 2018 assembly elections on Congress and JD(S) tickets.

Among 15 constituencies which went to the bypolls, 12 are held by Congress and three by JD(S).

To a question on the oft repeated opposition charge that the party tried to lure legislators through ‘Operation Lotus’ (poaching), he said the BJP does not believe in such practices and Congress and JD(S) were to be blamed for not being able to keep their flock together.

The BJP state chief said discontent in the Congress due to lack of development may compel other MLAs in the rival camp to seek to join them, though they were not needed

“If somebody expresses a desire to join the party, we will welcome them,” he said.

Kateel said Chief Minister Yediyurappa would ‘comfortably’ run the government for the next three-and-half years.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa too echoed similar sentiments.

“The people of Karnataka have given a tight slap to the Congress and the JD(S) by throwing them out of power.

I am confident that the people will ensure that they are out of power in this byelection as well, he told reporters in Gadag.

Eshwarappa said the people of Karnataka would not desert the BJP and would extend complete support to enable the government continue its remaining term in office

The outcome of the bypoll is crucial for BJP, which needs to win at least six seats to remain in a majority.

The Chief Minister had won the July 29 confidence motion after the effective strength of the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote) came down to 208 and the majority mark to 105, equivalent of BJP’s current strength, following the disqualifications.

The assembly will still have two vacant seats, where bypolls were not due to pending litigations in high court.

Currently BJP has 105 MLAs (including an independent), the Congress 66 and the JD(S) 34. Besides, there is one BSP member, a nominated MLA and the Speaker.

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