After the Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka but paved the way for them to contest the December 5 bypolls, disqualified MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi said all of them would join the BJP on Thursday at the party headquarters in Bengaluru. Follow LIVE Updates
“All 17 of us will join the BJP in the party headquarters in Bengaluru on Thursday at 10.30 am,” Jharkiholi said.
Earlier, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Ashwathnarayan CN said the disqualified legislators were welcome to join the BJP. “They (disqualified legislators) have expressed interest to join BJP and have met our senior leaders. They have been welcomed to join the party,” PTI quoted Ashwathnarayan as saying.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision disqualifying the 17 MLAs, which eventually led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) government. However, the apex court set aside the portion of the order by the then Speaker by which the legislators were disqualified till the end of the 15th Karnataka Legislative Assembly’s term in 2023.
The verdict is of high importance to the politicians as byelections to 15 of their respective constituencies – except Rajarajeshwari Nagar (N Munirathna) and Maski (Pratapgouda Patil) – have been scheduled for December 5.
Reacting to the SC judgment, disqualified MLA and former JD(S) Karnataka president H Vishwanath said, “I will contest bypolls from Hunsur. I am confident of winning the elections to become a minister in the BJP government in Karnataka.” He said Ramesh Jarkiholi was “the leader of the disqualified MLAs.”
Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa exuded confidence of winning all the 15 seats going to bypolls. “We (BJP) will begin campaigning for all 15 constituencies from tomorrow. 101 per cent, we are going to win all seats,” he said while welcoming the SC verdict.
Earlier, Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “If BJP has any morality left, they should not give tickets to the disqualified MLAs to contest.”
Meanwhile, the Congress party, in a press conference, said the SC verdict had vindicated their stand and exposed BJP’s “Operation Kamal”.
“By upholding the disqualification of the defecting MLAs by the Speaker, the apex Court has exposed ‘Operation Kamal’ that was undertaken by the BJP and its President to poach MLAs by using all nefarious means, with the sole aim of bringing down an elected Government and installing Yediyurappa as Chief Minister. It may be recalled that we had recently highlighted audio recordings, Yediyurappa Tapes, allegedly between Amit Shah and Yediyurappa to the above effect,” read a statement by the Congress.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said the SC judgment proved that the MLAs resigned due to ulterior motives. “The defection is neither voluntary nor genuine. Once an MLA is elected in a democratic setup, they can’t switch parties as they wish,” Siddaramaiah said.
Janata Dal (Secular) supremo HD Deve Gowda said the Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka would complete the term “without much botheration.”
“There is no question of either giving any berth in the cabinet or offering any cabinet member or board chairman post to them (17 disqualified MLAs), for all those who went to Bombay and came back to Bengaluru. Even though they have been permitted to contest elections, they have no scope of getting anything further,” Gowda said in Bengaluru.