About 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the bye-elections held in eight assembly constituencies in Karnataka on Saturday.
The results will determine whether politicians can get away with their latest ploy to beat the provisions of the anti-defection law. In seven seats, the BJP candidates are defectors — four from the Janata Dal (S) and three from the Congress. Three of the JD(S) MLAs and one Congress MLA had been made ministers in the ruling BJP government following their defection, while two other Congressmen became chairmen of public sector corporations.
Since the anti-defection law decrees that individual MLAs switching parties would lose their seats, these seven have had to re-contest.
The eighth seat fell vacant following the death of a sitting MLA. In the assembly polls last May, the BJP won 110 of the 224 seats, but pulled together a majority with the support of five independents. Four of the five were made ministers, while the fifth got a cabinet rank.
Independents retain their seats despite acquiring belated loyalties. However, independents’ support can’t be taken for granted. Hence another seven MLAs were lured into the party. It is these seven who are seeking re-election.