13 Disqualified MLAs File Nominations to Contest on BJP Ticket, Party to Act Tough Against Rebels

CNN-News18

Bengaluru: Thirteen of the 17 disqualified MLAs filed their nominations on Monday to contest in the upcoming bypolls on December 5. The MLAs who defected from the Congress and JDS, will be contesting on a BJP ticket.

However, the decision of the party to field turncoats has not gone down well with many in the BJP. Sharath Bachegowda, son of Chikkaballapur MP BN Bachegowda, filed his nomination to contest as an independent from Hosakote constituency after the BJP denied him a ticket. MTB Nagaraj is the BJP candidate from the constituency.

"Those involved in anti-party activities will not be entertained. They will be expelled and not be taken back into the party," BS Yediyurappa said during a campaign rally for Nagaraj, who defected from the Congress in July this year. Yediyurappa said Sharath has been expelled from the party.

Of the 15 constituencies that will see by-elections on December 5, BJP has given tickets for the disqualified MLAs to contest in 13 seats. Ramesh Jarkiholi from Gokak, Srimant Patil from Kagwad, Mahesh Kumthalli from Athani, BC Patil from Hirekerur, H Vishwanath from Hunasur, Narayana Gowda from KR pete, Anand Singh from Vijayanagar, K Sudhakar from Chikkaballapur, Shivaram Hebbar from Yellapur, ST Somashekhar from Yeshwantpur, Gopalaiyya from mahalakshmi layout, MTB Nagaraj from Hosakote and Bhairathi Basavaraj from KR puram.

All these candidates contested and won from the same seats in 2018 assembly elections. Their disqualification by former speaker Ramesh Kumar under anti-defection law necessitated the bypolls. They were also barred from contesting elections until the term of the House was complete. However, the Supreme Court, which upheld the disqualification last week, allowed them to contest the upcoming polls.

Protests were seen across different constituencies on Sunday and Monday against the party decision to field these candidates.

Narayana Gowda, a former JDS MLA, was met with hundreds of JDS workers gheraoing him, some throwing chappals at him in KR Pet. On Monday, supporters of deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi protested in Athani against denial of ticket to him, and supporters of Ashok Pujary protested in Gokak against BJP ticket to Ramesh Jarkiholi. Ranebennur saw also protests after disqualified MLA R Shankar was denied a ticket to contest polls.

The resignations of 17 MLAs -- 14 from the Congress and 3 from the JDS -- had led to the fall of the previous Congress-JDS coalition government in July this year and helped the BJP come to power.