To prevent hurdles in the way of election of eight disqualified Congress MLAs on BJP tickets in December, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday approved appointment of the nearest BJP rivals of the eight rebels to important positions in state-run units.
The move comes ahead of the December 5 elections to 15 Assembly seats which were vacated due to the disqualification of Congress and JD (S) MLAs for association with the BJP. The bypolls are crucial for the BJP to retain power in the state.
The BJP currently has the support of 106 MLAs in the 224-member Assembly and needs to win at least six of the 15 seats in the bypolls to maintain its grip. The Opposition combine of the Congress and JD (S) has 101 seats at present.
On Thursday, Yediyurappa approved appointment of Ashok Ningayyaswami Pujari from Gokak region as chairman of Karnataka Land Development Board. He is considered to be a rival to the disqualified Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is looking to contest on a BJP ticket.
Among the others appointed to key posts are Raju Kage from Kagwad region, from where former Congress MLA Shrimant Patil may contest the bypoll. Kage is now head of Command Area Development of Malaprabha/ Ghataprabha dam project. U B Banakar, the BJP candidate who lost from Hirekerur in the 2018 polls, has been made chief of the Agriculture Development Board to prevent him from putting a spanner in the election of the Congress rebel B C Patil. To help Congress rebel Prathapgouda Patil in Maski, the BJP’s Basanagouda Turvihal has been made head of the Command Area Development Board for Tungabhadra project.
Similarly, in Mundgod where Congress rebel Shivaram Hebbar is expected to be fielded by the BJP, his rival V S Patil has been appointed head of the local road transport corporation.
In Ballari, H R Gaviyappa has been made head of the Small Industries Development Board to prevent interference with the rebel Anand Singh’s poll prospects.
In K R Puram constituency, for Congress rebel Byrathi Basavaraj, his nearest BJP rival Nandish Reddy has been made vice-chairman of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation.
Sharat Bachegowda from Hosakote has been made chief of Karnataka Housing Board to accomodate candidature of Congress rebel M T B Nagaraj.