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Karnataka: JD-S questions EC, Cong claims victory after poll panel postpones by-elections to 15 Assembly seats


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Janata Dal-Secular and Congress, who were coalition partners in Karanataka till recently, on Thursday came out with conflicting statements over the Election Commission's decision to defer the by-polls to 15 Assembly constituencies in the state.
During the hearing in the Supreme Court, the Election Commission told the three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana that it would defer the by-polls to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka till the top court takes a decision on 17 disqualified MLAs, who were seeking interim relief to contest the by-polls.
The by-polls were scheduled to be held on October 21 and the result was supposed to be announced on October 24.
Reacting to the development, former Prime Minister and JD-S chief HD Deve Gowda said: "The Election Commission has volunteered themselves to defer the election ... This was the first time I had seen such a situation. I do not know whether all these institutions are going to function in a free and fair manner or not."
Former Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy said: "The judgment of the Supreme Court came as a surprise to everybody. The Central Election Commission is not the party. How they can comment and interfere in the argument?"
He alleged that the poll body is a "puppet" of the Central government, who is not working independently.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao termed the decision as a victory for them.
"The Supreme Court is going to look at the real meaning of the Anti-Defection Law. The people's mandate should not become a method to make money," said Gundu.
Speaking about disqualified MLAs, he said: "The backstabbers have fallen into the trap of BJP. The disqualified MLAs thought that they will get quick relief, that the Supreme Court has been managed and they will be sworn in as ministers with plum portfolios. It has been two months and they are still in a hapless position."
Taking to Twitter, Congress general secreatry KC Venugopal said: "The decision of the Supreme Court to not interfere with election process is in the spirit of the Constitution."
"The SC not only declined to grant a stay to the disqualification, it decided to treat the merit of the matter independently. One wonders at the wisdom of the Election Commission as it appears to have postponed the elections under instructions of the government to favour their agenda," he added.
However, senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Veerappa Moily questioned the EC's interference in the case.
"We have been saying that there is some interference in the matter, which is not correct," said Kharge.
Moily said: "This shows that the BJP is not prepared for the elections. They know that they will lose the elections. It manifests that the Election commission is acting like a puppet.

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First Published: Sep 26 2019 | 10:22 PM IST

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