13 rebel Karnataka MLAs are now BJP candidates in bypolls

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given tickets for the December 5 bypolls to 13 of the 17 rebel Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) legislators, whose resignations had toppled the HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka.

On Wednesday morning, 16 of the 17 MLAs were welcomed into the BJP by chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa who termed them “future MLAs and ministers”.

“It is because of the sacrifice of these 17 legislators and they quitting as MLAs, some even as ministers, I have been able to take oath as the Chief Minister,” Yediyurappa was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The disqualified Congress MLAs who have been given tickets by the BJP are: Mahesh Kumatalli (Athani), 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).

JD(S) members who have been given tickets are: K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), AH Vishwanath (Hunsur) and KC Narayana Gowda (Krishnarajpet).

The BJP hasn’t announced candidates for the remaining two seats where bypolls will be held in December. Fifteen of the 17 constituencies represented by the legislators are going for by-elections. The bypolls to Maski and RR Nagar constituencies have been withheld as cases on the two seats are pending before the high court.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had upheld the disqualification of 17 lawmakers but allowed them to contest bypolls. KR Ramesh Kumar, the then Karnataka assembly speaker, disqualified the 17 MLAs under the anti-defection law and barred them from contesting polls till 2023, when the term of the current assembly ends.

After the disqualification of the MLAs in July the strength of the 225-member Karnataka assembly was reduced to 208. The BJP has the simple majority of 105 and also enjoys the support of Independent MLAs. The Congress-JD(S) alliance has 101 seats.

The BJP will need to win at least six out of the15 seats going to pollsto remain in power. Of the 15 constituencies, 12 were represented by Congress and three by JD(S).

In July, the rebel MLAs had resigned and shifted to resorts in Mumbai. Their resignations reduced the Congress-JD(S) government to minority.