‘Amit Shah has assured tickets for rebel MLAs in bypolls,’ says Yediyurappa
By-elections are to be held on December 5 for 15 seats that fell vacant after rebel legislators from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition resigned and were subsequently disqualified for ensuring the downfall of former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s coalition government.Updated: Oct 01, 2019 06:49 IST
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said on Monday that the disqualified former MLAs need not have any apprehension because BJP’s national president Amit Shah had assured that they would be given tickets.
By-elections are to be held on December 5 for 15 seats that fell vacant after rebel legislators from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition resigned and were subsequently disqualified for ensuring the downfall of former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s alliance government.
Yediyurappa’s statement comes in the wake of BJP MLA Umesh Katti claiming on Sunday that the party’s candidates would be given seats. This had caused consternation in the rebel camp and Yediyurappa reacted to ensure the matter did not escalate.
Speaking to reporters in his constituency of Shikaripura, Yediyurappa said: “It has been decided… in the upcoming by-elections, those who resigned and aspire to stand from the BJP have been assured by BJP national president Amit Shah that they will be given tickets and that it is our responsibility.”
Yediyurappa asked the rebels to not give much weightage to rumours and that they would be the candidates for the party. “Since you have desired to contest from our party, we take the responsibility to ensure that you win,” he said.
Some BJP leaders who contested the 15 seats and lost in the 2018 assembly elections had expressed their displeasure at the party’s decision to field the rebels. Such people, Yediyurappa said would be placated by being given charge of boards and corporations run by the state.
Former MLA Dr K Sudhakar, one of the 17 disqualified MLAs, also reacted to Katti’s statement on Monday and said the BJP government owed its existence to the rebels. “It is because of our sacrifice that they have got this. The people have seen this. We took this decision because of our conscience,” he said.
Congress and JD(S) latched on to Yediyurappa’s statement as proof that the party had indulged in Operation Lotus, that it had paid money to get the rebels to defect.
Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “It was no secret earlier but the chief minister has admitted on record now so there need be no doubt that the BJP was involved in destabilizing the coalition government.”
The disqualifications have been challenged by the rebels, and the matter is set to come up for hearing on October 22. Gundu Rao said the party would ask its legal team to include Yediyurappa’s statement in its submissions to the Supreme Court as proof that former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision disqualifying the rebels was justified.
Sa Ra Mahesh of the JD(S), who was a minister in the coalition government and is a close aide of Kumaraswamy, said the BJP must explain now how it engineered the defections. “It is clear now that the party was involved and Yediyurappa has made it clearer that the ‘Operation’ had the central leadership’s backing. They should explain the source of the funds that were used to engineer the defection,” he said.
Mahesh said the JD(S) was preparing for general elections considering the differences in the BJP. “We had an alliance between two parties and we faced problems. It looks now like the BJP government is an alliance between three parties, the rebels, the Yediyurappa camp and the rest of the BJP. No wonder there is chaos,” he said.
First Published: Sep 30, 2019 20:19 IST