By Our Chief Editor B. R. Abdul Wajid.
Bengaluru : “With Plea Pending in Supreme Court and Nine Days to File Nominations ahead of Karnataka By-polls, Future of Rebel MLAs Remains in Doubt.” The by-elections in Karnataka will be held on October 21 in 15 constituencies that were vacated by rebel MLAs of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular). The counting of votes will take place in the same week on October 24. The last date for filing nominations for the by-elections is September 30.
Former Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs including 13 from the Congress, 3 from the JD(S), and an Independent. Prominent among the Congress MLAs who were disqualified were M T B Nagaraj, K. Sudhakar, Munirathna, Shrimant Patil, Byrathi Basavaraj and others. On the other hand, Supreme Court on September 12 refused to pass an order on a plea to list a batch of petitions filed by 17 disqualified MLAs challenging their disqualification from the Karnataka Legislative Assembly by Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law rejecting their resignation and disqualifying them from the Assembly. The leaders were disqualified by the Speaker, stating that they have “incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) and the disqualification would last till the end of the term of the Assembly May 23, 2023.”
The constituencies going to polls are Gokak, Athani, Ranebennur, Kagwad, Hirekerur, Yellapur, Yeshwanthpura, Vijayanagara, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, Hunsur, Krishnarajpet, Mahalakshmi Layout, KR Pura and Chikballapura. However, bye-polls to RR Nagar, the seat of former Congress MLA Munirathna, and Maski, constituency of former Congress MLA Pratapgouda Patil are yet to be announced by the Election Commission.
The strength of the Karnataka Assembly will be 222 after the bye-polls. The BJP presently has the support of 106 MLAs including independent MLA H Nagesh. The party will need to win six out of the 15 seats to get to the majority mark in the Assembly.
All eyes are now on the Supreme Court of India and it is anybody’s guess how long it will take for arguments on both sides to conclude. Until the verdict, the Speaker’s order of disqualification will still stand. Ramesh Kumar’s order clearly states that the disqualified MLAs cannot participate in the proceedings of the 15th Vidhan Sabha. Unless the Supreme Court stays the order or gives relief to the rebels in some form, they are prohibited from even contesting the by-polls.
During a PRESS CONFERENCE today at Bengaluru, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, Chief Election Officer, Karnataka during an interaction with our Chief Editor B. R. Abdul Wajid cleared that the code of conduct will not influence the flood relief works in North Karnataka and World famous Dasara festival. “Special permission has been given to Dasara and flood relief programs with a condition of no political participation. The code of conduct will come into effect in all the 15 constituencies along with its respective districts, ” Sanjeev Kumar said.