By-elections to Assembly constituencies represented by 15 of 17 disqualified former Congress-JD(S) MLAs will be held on October 21 and results will be declared on October 24, Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar said on Saturday.
However, the disqualified legislators said they will be seeking a stay on the election process on Monday, as their petition challenging the disqualification is pending before the Supreme Court.
The fifteen constituencies that will go to polls are: Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K R Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K R Pete and Hunsur.
The elections have not been announced for Maski and Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituencies.
On why by-polls have not been announced for two constituencies, the CEO said it cannot be held now as election petitions relating to the 2018 Assembly polls were pending in the High Court, independent of 17 disqualified MLAs case in the Supreme Court.
"In Maski and RR Nagar there is a specific request for removal of the person who got elected. Those petitions are admitted and pending in court. It has nothing to do with the disqualified legislators case," he added.
Absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July, and helped the BJP to come to power.
After examining the petition moved by leadership of both parties, the then Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.
To a question about the then Speaker's ruling disqualifying the legislators, and if they would be eligible to contest the by-polls, Sanjiv Kumar merely said, "...the ruling is there, one is bound by the ruling."
The then Speaker had ruled that those disqualified cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th Assembly (in 2023).
Asked about the relevance of the petition by the disqualified MLAs to the Election Commission not to hold polls until the court decides on their petition, the CEO said, "that has no relevance now."
Soon after the schedule for by-polls were out, the disqualified MLAs went in to a huddle.
They also reportedly met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa along with some senior Ministers and legal experts.
Speaking to reporters, one of the disqualified MLAs S T Somashekar said their case was coming before the Supreme Court on Monday and they had met to discuss it and expressed confidence about getting a stay.
"We have also consulted out advocates. We will have to see what court decides on Monday," he said.
Asked whether they were worried as the polling dates were announced ahead of their case coming before the Supreme Court, Somashekar said, "our advocates will try to get a stay on Monday and we are not worried."
"We will contest as candidates," he said, but did not specify if they would be contesting on BJP ticket.
Another disqualified MLA K Sudhakar said their petition was pending before the apex court and would come up for hearing on Monday and expressed confidence of obtaining a stay on the election process.
Date of issue of gazette notification for the by-polls is September 23, last date of nominations is September 30, scrutiny of nominations will take place on October 1 and last date for withdrawal of candidatures is October 3.
Poll officials said the model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the districts in which the whole or any part of the Assembly constituency going for by-polls is included.
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