13 disqualified MLAs to get BJP bypoll ticket

9:42 PM, Friday, November 15th, 2019

Nalin-kumar-kateelBengaluru : A day after the Supreme Court said the disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs can contest the December 5 byelections, the BJP promptly awarded tickets to 13 of the 16 former legislators who joined the party on Thursday.

Chief minister BS Yediyurappa called new colleagues “future MLAs and ministers”, indicating they will walk into the cabinet if they win the bypolls.

At the function where the former rebels joined the party, the chief minister said, “Let there be no doubt that we’ll win all 15 seats 100%. My greetings to former MLAs, who are future MLAs and ministers. I’d like to assure you that we’ll honour the promise made to you.”

With the stiff target of having to win at least six of the 15 seats to save his minority government, Yediyurappa requested party workers to ensure the victory of candidates. “The onus (of ensuring their win) is on us, the karyakartas,” he said and added the sacrifice made by the disqualified MLAs “helped me take oath as chief minister”.

The assembly has 17 vacancies, and byelections are being held to fill 15 vacancies. Elections to the remaining two constituencies — Maski (Raichur district) and Rajarajeshwari Nagar (Bengaluru city) — will be held later. The BJP central election committee has announced tickets to 14 constituencies — 13 disqualified MLAs and one former BJP corporator, who entered the fray in Shivajinagar, represented by R Roshan Baig.

Sources claimed BJP didn’t admit Baig, who quit the Congress, into the party because of his alleged involvement in the multi-crore IMA Ponzi scam and his presence would have caused embarrassment to the party. M Sharavana, former BBMP council member from Shivajinagar, is BJP’s candidate who is likely to face off seven-time MLA Baig, who may jump into the fray as an independent.

The BJP didn’t announce a candidate for Ranebennur because disqualified independent MLA R Shankar, who represented the segment, may find it tough to win against former Congress speaker KB Koliwad. Shankar may be nominated to the council.

Sources said rural development and panchayat raj minister KS Eshwarappa’s son KE Kanthesh is keen on Ranebennur since Kurubas — who are in big numbers in the constituency — could vote en bloc on community lines. Shankar is also from the same community.

Deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi received the short shrift as the party handed the Athani bypoll ticket to disqualified MLA Mahesh Kumathalli. Sources said Ramesh Jarkiholi prevailed upon the BJP to give Kumathalli the ticket.

Savadi has three months to enter the assembly or the council to remain in the cabinet. Rules say a minister, who is not a member of either house, has six months to become a legislator. Savadi became a minister three months ago.

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