Unrest within as BJP Karnataka unit set to welcome rebels
The MLAs, who helped topple the H D Kumaraswamy-led JDS-Congress coalition government, will join the BJP in Bengaluru at an event on Thursday.Updated: Nov 14, 2019 06:17 IST
Even as the 17 disqualified MLA’s –14 from Congress and three from the JDS – breathed a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the upcoming bypolls, some sections of the Karnataka unit of the BJP were upset over their likely induction in the saffron party.
The MLAs, who helped topple the H D Kumaraswamy-led JDS-Congress coalition government, will join the BJP in Bengaluru at an event on Thursday. “We are open to inducting these MLAs into the BJP,” a senior BJP office-bearer in Delhi said, requesting he not be identified. “The party will take a call on whether all of them or just some will be given the ticket to contest election.”
The second leader, who also wished to remain anonymous, said these disqualified MLAs may join the BJP “in a day or two” and the party will then announce their name as candidates for the bye-election to the assembly seats that fell vacant following their disqualification. “The state leadership of the BJP is in touch with them,” he said.
Addressing the media in Bengaluru, senior BJP leader Arvind Limbavalli said after the core committee meeting that they have not taken a final decision on ticket distribution. Fifteen of the 17 seats go to bypolls on December 5 and November 21 is the last day for filing nominations.
However, several BJP leaders weren’t happy with the possible induction of ‘defectors.’
Sharath Bache Gowda, son of B N Bache Gowda who is the BJP Lok Sabha member from Chikballapura, said if M T B Nagaraj,a disqualified MLA, got a BJP ticket, he will contest as an independent.
In the May 2018 polls, Sharath had narrowly lost to Nagaraj who was then contesting on a Congress ticket.
Similarly in Hirekerur, BJP leader U G Bankar has threatened to go against the party if B C Patil, another disqualified MLA against whom he had lost in the previous election, was given a ticket.
In Kagawad constituency, BJP’s Raju Kage has already quit the primary membership and is all set to contest as a Congress candidate. “How can they induct and reward (Srimanth Balashaeb Patil) him? I am joining Congress tomorrow and will file my nomination papers on the 18th,” he told HT. In Athani also, the BJP faces a dilemma. In the 2018 assembly polls, deputy CM Lakshman Sangappa Savadi had lost against Mahesh Kumtalli who is one of the disqualified MLAs now crossing over.
Now Savadi needs to become a member of either house of the state assembly within the next three months in order to continue on his post. Savadi did not respond to HT’s request for comments.
Meanwhile, Limbavalli claimed that the issue would be sorted amicably and the party’s ‘official’ candidates would be announced after another core committee meeting on Thursday. Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan also claimed that there was no dissatisfaction within the party.
However, senior political analyst Mahadev Prasad said, “This was to be expected in all the constitutencies BJP already had a presence and candidates who had been defeated by the disqualified MLA’s...There would be rebellion in some constituencies and the party would have to find ways of rewarding some of the leaders.”
The Karnataka assembly has 224 members, and the BJP has support of 104 MLAs with the reduced strength of 207. One independent MLA too supports the BJP. After election to these 15 seats, a party will need support of 112 MLAs to remain in power.