Karnataka Parties Await Supreme Court Judgment On Disqualified MLAs

Former Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs and said they could not contest elections until the end of the current assembly term in 2023

Karnataka Parties Await Supreme Court Judgment On Disqualified MLAs

BS Yediyurappa became chief minister after the previous coalition government fell

Bengaluru:

The attention of political parties in Karnataka is focussed now on the Supreme Court, which is expected to deliver its judgment in the case of disqualified MLAs from the state. Seventeen MLAs, formerly of the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular, had withdrawn their support in July from the coalition government formed by their parties - leading to its collapse.

Before it fell, the then Speaker Ramesh Kumar disqualified 17 MLAs and said they could not contest elections until the end of the current assembly term in 2023.

The MLAs approached the Supreme Court for relief in this matter. If they are allowed to contest elections, and can become MLAs once again, then the BJP, which is in power in the state, could potentially reward them for their role in helping the party come to power with ministerial berths or other plum positions.

The perceived need for gratitude towards these MLAs was highlighted in a leaked audio recording of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who said his BJP colleagues should appreciate the "sacrifice" of the MLAs and support them.

Bypolls in Karnataka to 15 of the 17 seats are scheduled on December 5; the nomination process has begun. But tickets have not yet been allotted for all the seats as the parties wait to see the outcome of the case in the Supreme Court.

"I am one-hundred per cent sure that the judgment will go in our favour. Many BJP people, including MLAs, are fed up of the BJP government in Karnataka. The chief minister has not been able to focus on anything, on governance. He is more interested in by-elections. He is more interested in saving his own chair," Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said.

"They are making announcements and doing programmes simply for the sake of these by-elections. To win the elections, they are focusing on these constituencies. This is a gross misuse of government machinery. The coalition government was far, far superior to this coalition government," Mr Rao said.

In the leaked audio tape, Mr Yediyurappa is purportedly heard expressing confidence in the verdict going in favour of the disqualified MLAs.

In the 224-member assembly, where the majority mark is 113, the BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of one independent.

The Congress and the JDS have decided to fight these elections separately and not as a coalition.

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