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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Voting on 15 Karnataka assembly seats put off to Dec 5, says EC

The bypolls were deferred first on Thursday after the Supreme Court decided to hear the petitions of the 17 former MLAs, whose disqualifications had necessitated the byelections.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2019 22:46 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
File photo of election officials with EVMs. (ANI Photo)
File photo of election officials with EVMs. (ANI Photo)
         

The Election Commission on Friday announced December 5 as the new date for byelections to 15 seats of the Karnataka state assembly. The bypolls were earlier scheduled to be held on October 21.

The bypolls were deferred first on Thursday after the Supreme Court decided to hear the petitions of the 17 former MLAs, whose disqualifications had necessitated the byelections. The former MLAs’ resignations and later abstentions had ensured the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in July.

The disqualified rebels had challenged the order of former assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who had said in his verdict that the rebels were not eligible to enter the House till the end of its term, and had sought either a stay or deferment of the bypolls.

The EC announced that the voting would be held on December 5 and the results would be declared on December 11. Under the revised schedule, candidates can now file nominations between November 11 and 18. The Election Commission said that the nominations of those who had already filed it before the deferment of polls would also be taken up for scrutiny along with those that would be filed between the new days for filing nominations.

Earlier in the day, Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao had criticised the Election Commission for its voluntary submission before the Supreme Court that it was willing to defer the polls. “The belief in the EC is eroding,” he said.

“Firstly, there was no need for the EC to involve itself in the matter. It entered the proceedings saying it had announced the polls, that the elections would not be postponed because it had already been notified,” Gundu Rao said.

“What was the locus standi of the EC? We will write them a letter and take up the matter legally,” he added. “We have no problem if the elections are postponed, we have no issues with the SC decision. However, when the EC behaves in such a manner does it not imply that the Constitutional body is compromised?”

Kumaraswamy criticised the EC on Friday asking why it had revised the schedule when there was no clarity about the issue. “Elections have been announced for 15 seats again, but the EC has no clarity on the matter,” he tweeted.

“What is the reason that a Constitutional authority is functioning under such confusion,” he said. “Such an uncertain election had never been announced in the past.”

He said Operation Lotus had given rise to all such issues and the people were witness to it.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah questioned the intentions of the EC. “It is difficult to understand the EC’s intentions. It is behaving like the puppet of the central government.”

He said the EC had volunteered to defer the bypolls in a hurry. “The Congress is ready to face polls, but the EC’s conduct has given rise to suspicion,” he said.

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 20:08 IST

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