Rebel MLAs assured BJP tickets: BSY

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Published on Sep 30, 2019 11:40 PM IST
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Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday assuaged concerns of the 15 disqualified lawmakers, whose resignations brought down the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS coalition government in the state in July, saying the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah has assured that they would be given tickets.

This comes a day after BJP lawmaker Umesh Katti said that the ruling party’s candidates would be fielded for the December 5 by-elections to the 15 seats that have been vacant since the lawmakers were disqualified. The lawmakers have challenged their disqualifications before the Supreme Court and the matter would be heard on October 22. The by-polls were to be held in October but were deferred in view of the hearing.

“It has been decided… in the upcoming by-elections, those who resigned and aspire to contest as BJP candidates have been assured by the BJP national president Amit Shah that they will be given tickets and that it is our responsibility,” Yediyurappa told reporters.

Yediyurappa asked the 15 to ignore rumours that they would be not be fielded. “Since you have desired to contest on our tickets, we take the responsibility to ensure that you win,” he said.

Some BJP leaders, who unsuccessfully contested the 15 seats in the 2018 assembly elections, have expressed their displeasure over the possibility of the party fielding the Congress and JDS rebels.

Yediyurappa said that such people would be placated by giving them charge of boards and corporations.

K Sudhakar, who is one of the disqualified lawmakers, said the BJP government owed its existence to the rebels. “It is because of our sacrifice that they have got this [power]. The people have seen this. We took this decision [to resign] because of our conscience,” he said.

The Congress and JD(S) reacted to Yediyurappa’s assurance and said it proves the BJP had paid the rebels. Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “It was no secret earlier but the chief minister has admitted on the record now... there needs to be no doubt that the BJP was involved in destabilising the [Congress-JDS] coalition government.”

Rao said the Congress would ask its legal team to include Yediyurappa’s statement in its submissions before the Supreme Court as proof that the former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision disqualifying the rebels was justified.

JDS’s Sa Ra Mahesh said the BJP must explain how it engineered the defections. “It is clear now that the party was involved and Yediyurappa has made it clearer that the... [defections] had the [BJP] central leadership’s backing. They should explain the source of the funds that were used to engineer the defections,” he said.

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