Apart from winning the bypolls to two Assembly seats in Karnataka, the ruling BJP has also won four legislative council seats in the state, the polls for which were held on October 28 and results announced on Tuesday.
BJP candidates Sankanur V, Chidanand Gowda, Sashil Namoshi and Puttanna registered comfortable victories in the Karnataka West and South East Graduates’ constituencies and the Karnataka North East and the Bangalore Teachers’ constituencies, respectively.
The council victories have seen the BJP become the single-largest party in the 75-member legislative council for the first time in five years with 31 seats, followed by the Congress at 28 and the JD(S) at 14, along with four Independents.
The emergence of the BJP as the single largest party is expected to put the party in a better position to push through legislation that has hit roadblocks in the Upper House in recent times — even when the opposition did not put up a united front.
In September, the state government suffered a setback in the council in its attempts to pass a Bill for labour reforms, with The Industrial Disputes and Certain Other Laws (Karnataka Amendment) Act 2020 defeated in the council by a combined opposition.
The BJP was also unable to pass a key land reforms legislation — the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which removes restrictions on purchase of agricultural land — despite the JD(S) supporting the Bill in the state Assembly after the council chairman adjourned the extended council session without a vote on the Bill.
The election for posts of the chairman and deputy chairman of the council were held when the Congress-JD(S) coalition was in power in 2018. The majority secured by the BJP is now expected to help the BJP elect its own council chairman and replace the incumbent, Congress’s Prathap Chandra Shetty, during the next session.
According to BJP sources, party leaders are likely to hold talks with the JD(S) before the next legislature session to draw up a plan to replace Shetty.
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