In Karnataka, where resignations of 17 rebel MLAs led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government in July, by-elections will be held in 15 assembly seats on October 21, the Election Commission said today.
The MLAs were disqualified in July by then Speaker KR Ramesh when they resigned, allowing the BJP to challenge the 14-month-old JDS-Congress coalition government and stake claim to power.
All the rebel MLAs have challenged their disqualification in the Supreme Court but the top court did not stay the order by the former assembly speaker, allowing the Election Commission to hold elections in the constituencies. The matter will be heard in the Court on Monday.
However, the poll body has not announced bypolls in two of the 17 assembly constituencies - Maski and RR Nagar - as separate election cases related to these constituencies are pending in Karnataka High Court.
For Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who was sworn in for the fourth time as Karnataka Chief Minister earlier this year, the by-elections will be a test of strength.
In the trust vote, which followed the collapse of Congress-JDS coalition, the BJP won 105 votes to the coalition's 99. In the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, 20 were not present in the House for the floor test.
After the poll dates were announced, JDS patriarch HD Devegowda said that the Congress and JDS will not contest bypolls together. "We will announce our stand on Sunday on how many constituencies we will contest. Our party's stand is that no matter if we win or lose we have had enough of coalition," he said.
On Friday, ex-Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the Yediyurappa government "will collapse anytime". "If I have to make a political prediction... I'm not an astrologer for that, but looking at the way in which this government is going, looking at its conduct this government may collapse any time...lets wait and see," he told reporters.
The bypolls will be held in 63 assembly assembly seats across 17 states, inlcluding Karnataka, and Puducherry, a Union Territory, along with state polls in Haryana and Maharashtra. The votes will be counted on October 24.
In Karnataka, bypolls will be held in Yellapur, Yeshwanthpur, Vijaynagara, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, Hunsur, Krishnarajpet, Mahalakhsmi Layout, KR Pura, Chikkaballapur, Gokak, Athani, Ranebennur, Kagwad, Hirekerur.
The last date to file the nomination is September 30 and the last date to withdraw the poll nomination is October 3.
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