Bengaluru: As many as sixteen out of 17 rebel MLAs who quit their respective parties and led to the collapse of the JDS-Congress coalition government at the state joined the BJP officially, on Thursday, November 14, in the presence of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel. Only Roshan Baig, who broke ties with Congress did not join the BJP along with others.
The 17 MLAs were disqualified by the former speaker Ramesh Kumar, who also barred them from contesting the polls. However, the Supreme Court, on November 13, in its much-awaited verdict upheld the speaker's decision of disqualifying them, but at the same time lifted the ban on them from contesting the by-elections in their constituencies. With the big relief from the SC, the rebels joined the BJP and said that they were doing so whole-heartedly without any pressure.
"We have been in the arena of politics for very long and uncertainty looms large over politicians at all times. What is in store for us the very next second, we do not know," said former JDS leader H Vishwanath adding that they had to break out of their former parties to put an end to the 'demonic politics'. "None of us quit the party because we were offered better positions. We did what we felt was needed to end 'demonic politics," he said adding that the former speaker had conspired to keep the 17 rebels away from politics, but the SC has upheld their rights.
He further said that convinced by the dreams of PM Narendra Modi, the 17 rebels have joined the BJP to make their tiny contributions towards building the nation and the state as per the vision of the PM.
"The ex-MLAs visited the Karu Malleshwara temple in Malleshwaram and joined the BJP at 11 a.m. on Thursday," BJP leader Vanamacharya told IANS. Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa welcomed the ex-MLAs into the BJP fold, handing over a party flag and promising a bright future ahead, said Vanamacharya.
Yediyurappa thanked the disqualified legislators for providing Karnataka a stable BJP government and left to Tumkur to attend a cooperative society meeting.
Except for Roshan Baig, the other ex-MLAs who joined the BJP included Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumtahalli, Anand Singh, Shrimanth Patil, Pratap Gouda Patil, B.C. Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S.T. Somshekar, Byrati Basavaraju, Muniratna K. Sudhakar, A.H. Vishwanath, Narayana Gowda and K. Gopalaiah, R. Shankar and MBT Nagaraj.
Vanamachary said it is not yet clear why Roshan Baig has not joined the party, hinting that the Centre has asked for more time to induct him. The by-elections in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru and Kampli in Raichur district have been postponed due to election petitions.
Excluding Baig, he said, a minimum of 14 ex-MLAs can get BJP tickets to contest in the forthcoming by-elections, however one or two of them may not accept the offer. "Though they have joined BJP, they would like to nominate somebody, either from their circle or family. But they have not cleared the air so far." Vanamacharya told IANS in anticipation.
He exuded confidence that at least 10 contestants from the 14 hopefuls will win the by-elections to provide a stable BJP government, despite the BJP needing only seven. "Ten is a good number to have a stable government for the next three and a half years," told Vanamachary. He said a good number of the disqualified legislators who joined BJP on Thursday can expect to become ministers.
The by-elections will be held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K.R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K.R. Pete and Hunsur.
The vote count is on December 9.
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