- Karnataka Chief Minister said rebels can contest bypolls on BJP tickets
- It was the party's "responsibility" to give them a chance, he added
- MLAs' rebellion had led to the collapse of HD Kumaraswamy government
Disqualified Congress and Janata Dal Secular MLAs will be given BJP tickets for the bypolls if they want, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Monday, amid growing opposition within the party against any such move.
Mr Yediyurappa said party chief Amit Shah has said it was "our responsibility" to give tickets to the former MLAs. The rebellion by the then MLAs had led to the fall of the Congress-JDS government in July, paving the way for the BJP to return to power in the southern state.
By-elections to the constituencies held by them are scheduled in December. Mr Yediyurappa tried to pacify the BJP's ticket hopefuls and candidates who lost in the 2018 assembly election, saying "opportunity" will be created for them in state-run boards and corporations.
"By-elections are coming up, dates have been announced for 15 seats, Amit Shah has said that those who have resigned and want to contest from BJP, all of them will be given seats (tickets), it is our responsibility," the Chief Minister told reporters at his hometown Shikaripura in Shimoga district.
Seeking to clear the air in the backdrop of opposition to giving tickets to them, the Chief Minister said there was no need for any confusion.
"If you desire to contest from our party, priority will be given to you in making you candidates. BJP karyakartas and leaders will take responsibility for your victory," he said.
His comments assume significance as there has been growing opposition within sections of the state BJP against giving bypoll tickets to the disqualified MLAs.
Aspirants and party candidates defeated in the 2018 assembly polls in segments including Hosakote, Hirekerur, Kagwad and Mahalakshmi Layout, have said tickets should be given to loyal party cadre who have worked to build the BJP.
Senior BJP MLA Umesh Katti on Sunday said the disqualified MLAs "will have to find their way."
Reaching out to the aspirants within the party, Mr Yediyurappa said after discussion in the cabinet in three-four days, opportunity would be created in boards and corporations for 10-12 BJP leaders who lost the 2018 polls by a narrow margin.
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