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16 disqualified Cong-JDS MLAs join BJP, 13 get bypoll ticket

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

BJP on Thursday fielded 13 disqualified Congress-JD(S) legislators as its candidates for the December 5 assembly byelections in Karnataka hours after the rebels joined the ruling party in the state.

The party aiming to win a majority of the 15seats that will go for the bypolls announced a list of 14 candidates with the nominee for Ranebennur constituency yet to be named.

A day after the Supreme Court paved the way for themto contest the bypolls, as many as 16disqualified MLAs on Thursday joined the BJP at the party office here.

The disqualified MLAs, whose rebellion led to the fall of the Kumaraswamy government and the return of the BJP to power in July, were inducted in the presence of Chief Minister B SYediyurappa, state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel and NationalGeneral Secretary in charge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Raoamong others.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday had upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka by then Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar but allowed them to contest the bypolls necessitated by the action against them.

The court had set aside the portion of the Speaker's order bywhich the MLAs were disqualified till the end of thecurrent assembly's term in 2023.

While, the 13 disqualified MLAs have been fielded again from their respective seats, M Saravana, a former corporator, has been has been given the ticket from Shivajinagar, denying it to R Roshan Baig, a disqualified Congress legislator from the constituency.

Baig, a seven-time MLA, has notbeen inducted into the party, unlike 16 other disqualifiedlegislators who were welcomed into the BJP fold.

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 and denial of ticket.

Interestingly, Baig, a former minister, on Wednesday had claimed hewill join BJP along with the other legislators.

According to sources close to Baig, he met Chief Minister and expressed his displeasure andalso was contemplating contesting as an independent candidateafter consulting his supporters.

The other disqualified Congress MLAs who have been given ticket by the BJP are: Mahesh Kumatalli in Athani constituency, Shrimanthagouda Patil (Kagwad), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), Byrati Basavaraj (K R Puram), S T Somashekar (Yeshwanthpur) and MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote).

JD(S) members who joined BJP and given ticket are: K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), AH Vishwanath (Hunsur) and KC Narayana Gowda (Krishnarajpet).

Though disqualified MLA R Shankar, who represented Ranibennur, had been inducted into the party, the candidate for the seat has not yetbeen finalised.

Party sources cited doubts about Shankar's winnability and pressure within the party as reasons for not giving himthe ticket.

Besides, there was also lobbying by aspirants, especiallysenior Minister and party leader K S Eshwarapp's son Kanteshfor the seat, they said.

Shankar was elected on the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) ticket in 2018 Assembly polls, and had repeatedly switched sides since then.

Subsequently, he had merged the KPJP with the Congress.

As he had camped with rebel MLAs leading to the fall of coalition governemnt, he was disqualified on the Congress' petition.

The last date for filing of nominations for the bypolls is November 18.

The BJP will need to win at least six out of those 15 seats to remain in power.

Speaking after welcoming the disqualified legislators intothe party, Yediyurappa urged the party workers to put in their efforts to ensure the success of the BJP nominees keeping aside differences.

His appeal comes amidst rebellion by a few withinthe party against giving tickets to the disqualified MLAs.

On Thursday, Sharath Bachegowda in Hoskote filed nomination as an independent candidate, while former party MLAfrom Kagwad - Raju Kage joined Congress.

Yediyurappa also expressed confidence about winning all the 15 seats.

Fifteen out of the 17 constituencies represented by these MLAs will be going for bypolls, while by-elections to Maski and R R Nagar constituencies have been withheld as litigations related to them are pending before theKarnataka High Court.

Of the 15 seats, as many as 12 were represented by Congress and three by the JD(S).

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 14 2019. 19:01 IST