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Disqualified Karnataka MLAs Will have to Find their Way, Says BJP Leader Umesh Katti

The saffron party, that came to power with the help of these MLAs, plans to field most of them in the by-polls on getting respite from the Apex Court, where they have challenged their disqualification.


Updated:September 29, 2019, 6:38 PM IST
Disqualified Karnataka MLAs Will have to Find their Way, Says BJP Leader Umesh Katti
Rebel MLAs from Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Even as the fate of the 17 disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court over their eligibility to contest the bypolls in Karnataka, there is growing opposition within the state BJP against giving them tickets, with a senior party MLA Umesh Katti saying on Sunday that they will have to find their way.

The saffron party, that came to power with the help of these MLAs, plans to field most of them in the by-polls on getting respite from the Apex Court, where they have challenged their disqualification.

"Raju Kage, Laxman Savadi, Ashok Pujari (aspirants) are my close friends. I will speak (to the party leadership)... tickets have not yet been issued. When it is issued, let's see...all these three will get tickets, if they dont get, let's see then," Katti said.

Speaking to reporters in Chikkodi, he said Raju Kage had said he would not jump ship to the Congress and would seek a ticket from the BJP after meeting the party leadership.

Kage had stated that if he does not get a ticket, he would go his own way, Katti said.

"Kage will continue in BJP, he will get a ticket (from Kagwad)," Katti said.

Asked about the fate of disqualified MLAs like Shrimat Patil from Kagwad, he said, "for disqualified MLAs- they have their way and we have ours."

The bypolls to 15 of the 17 seats represented by disqualified MLAs, which the Election Commission had decided to defer, has now been scheduled for December 5.

The counting will take place on December 9.

There is growing resistance from aspirants and party candidates defeated in the 2018 assembly polls against the move to give these MLAs tickets in several constituencies, as they feel tickets should be given to loyal party cadres who have worked to build it, in constituencies like- Hosakote, Hirekerur, Kagwad, Mahalakshmi Layout, among others.

Reacting to Katti's statement, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi said "such things are not decided by Umesh Katti or him. There is a high command in the party and we will abide by its decision."

Katti, an eight time MLA, who has been sulking over not being inducted into the Ministry, is now seeking tickets for his 'friends'.

State BJP General Secretary Arvind Limbavali said when there is possibility of a new person coming in, it was natural for local leaders in the constituency to feel insecure.

Pointing out out that such a situation would not have arisen had BJP won 115 seats (instead of 104), he said"... not sure if disqualified MLAs will join BJP or not, there is no clarity.

Limbavalli said some people have assumed that these MLAs would join the BJP and have expressed dissatisfaction.

"In some places where there is confirmation about them joining, they are disgruntled. The party will solve it internally."

However, senior BJP leaders are hopeful that local leaders and workers would be taken into confidence about ticket allotment to disqualified MLAs.

"We are hopeful that our party workers will understand. They know the situation and how crucial this election is for the party to stay in power.It is because of the resignation of these MLAs that BJP was able to come to power,"they have said.

The 15 constituencies that will go to polls are Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K R Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, KR Pete, Hunsur.

Among the 15 constituencies, 12 were represented by Congress and three by the JD(S). Winning most seats (at least six) in this by-elections is

crucial for BJP to stay in power.

Absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy headed coalition government in July and helped BJP come to power.

After examining the petition moved by the leadership of both parties,the then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs and an independent under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

The then Speaker had ruled that those disqualified cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th assembly (in 2023).

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