Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, BJP State Unit President Nalin Kumar Kateel and BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao hand over the party flag to MLA Anand Singh during a
programme to induct the disqualified MLA’s, in Bengaluru on Thursday. (PTI)
BHARATIYA Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday fielded 13 disqualified Congress-JD(S) legislators as its candidates for the December 5 Assembly by-elections in Karnataka hours after the rebels joined the ruling party in the State. The party aiming to win a majority of the 15 seats that will go for the by-polls announced a list of 14 candidates with the nominee for Ranebennur constituency yet to be named. A day after the Supreme Court paved the way for them to contest the by-polls, as many as 16 disqualified MLAs on Thursday joined the BJP at the party office here.
The disqualified MLAs, whose rebellion led to the fall of the Kumaraswamy Government and the return of the BJP to power in July, were inducted in the presence of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, State BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel and National General Secretary in charge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Rao among others. The Supreme Court on Wednesday had upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka by then Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar but allowed them to contest the by-polls necessitated by the action against them.
The court had set aside the portion of the Speaker’s order by which the MLAs were disqualified till the end of the current Assembly’s term in 2023. While, the 13 disqualified MLAs have been fielded again from their respective seats, M Saravana, a former corporator, has been has been given the ticket from Shivajinagar, denying it to R Roshan Baig, a disqualified Congress legislator from the constituency. Baig, a seven-time MLA, has not been inducted into the party, unlike 16 other disqualified legislators who were welcomed into the BJP fold. BJP sources cited “reservations” expressed by party leadership over Baig, who faced inquiry in the IMA ponzi scam, among the reasons for his non-induction and denial of ticket.
Interestingly, Baig, a former minister, on Wednesday had claimed he will join BJP along with the other legislators. According to sources close to Baig, he met Chief Minister and expressed his displeasure and also was contemplating contesting as an independent candidate after consulting his supporters. The other disqualified Congress MLAs who have been given ticket by the BJP are: Mahesh Kumatalli in Athani constituency, Shrimanthagouda Patil (Kagwad), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), Byrati Basavaraj (K R Puram), S T Somashekar (Yeshwanthpur) and MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote).