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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

With decks almost clear for Karnataka rebels, parties set to finalise names

With the last date for nominations set for September 30, the three parties are now scrambling to finalise candidates for the seats. The BJP looks set to name the rebels in their former constituencies, even though some leaders have said they are nervous about the cadre’s reaction.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2019 09:40 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs – 14 of the Congress and three of the Janata Dal (Secular) – for their part in toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition government
Former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs – 14 of the Congress and three of the Janata Dal (Secular) – for their part in toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition government(PTI File Photo)
         

With the Election Commission telling the Supreme Court on Monday that the rebels could contest the polls, pending the apex court’s order, all three parties feel they have received clarity and can carry on with preparations for the byelections to 15 seats in Karnataka.

Former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs – 14 of the Congress and three of the Janata Dal (Secular) – for their part in toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. On Monday, the poll panel clarified in court that Kumar’s order that stopped them entering the House would deprive the rebels of their right.

With the last date for nominations set for September 30, the three parties are now scrambling to finalise candidates for the seats. The BJP looks set to name the rebels in their former constituencies, even though some leaders have said they are nervous about the cadre’s reaction.

“We are indebted to the rebels because without their help there was no way we would form this government,” said a senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named. “Of course, if the SC rules in their favour, we will be bound to field them,” the leader said.

“Our party workers know the circumstances under which we have come to power, so they cannot be surprised if we have to field the rebels,” the BJP leader said. “We are hoping that they will understand the situation, but one cannot completely rule out dissidence,” he added.

At present, the BJP has 105 MLAs, and it has the support of one Independent MLA. It requires to win a minimum of six seats to reach the majority mark of 112. However, since elections are not being conducted for two other seats, it will need to win eight seats if it wishes to reach a majority on its own if the House were to be at its full strength of 225.

The Congress, meanwhile, will hold a meeting on Thursday to decide on the candidates, state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao told HT. “We haven’t finalised candidates for any seat yet. There is no dearth of aspirants in our party,” he said.

Considering the Congress won most of the seats that are going to polls, Gundu Rao said the party was confident of retaining a majority. “There is a lot of anger against these disqualified leaders, we have seen that in our tours. We think, in fact, that we will stand a much better chance if the BJP fields these people. To add to this, there is anger against the BJP because it has not come to the rescue of those affected by the recent rains and floods in the state,” he added.

Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that his party would contest all the 15 seats that are going to polls, even though only three of the seats were held by the JD(S). “This election is a trial by fire for all the parties,” he told reporters in Mysuru. “The results of the byelections will begun another round of theatrics,” he said.