BJP sticks to projecting disqualified MLAs as ministerialnominees; Cong, JDS vow to defeat them i

n bypolls Bengaluru, Nov 17 (PTI) With the outcome of the comingbypolls to 15 Karnataka assembly constituencies crucial forsurvival of its government, the ruling BJP is going all out toensure victory of its candidates, most of them rebeldisqualified MLAs, pitching them as future ministers.

Congress and JDS, whose coalition government was pulleddown by the rebels in July leading to their disqualificationand paving the way for BJP rule, have resolved to ensure theirdefeat and taken objection to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappaprojecting them as ministerial candidates.

Petitioning the Election Commission on Saturday, theCongress has said the Yediyurappa made the statement with aview to inducing and influencing voters of these segments forfurtherance of the electoral prospects of the BJP candidates.

Leaders of both Congress and JD(S) have said ensuring thedefeat of the disqualified legislators was their main agenda.

Monday is the last date for filing of nominations for theDecember 5 bypolls, necessitated by resignation and absence of17 Congress-JD(S) legislators, subsequently disqualified underthe anti-defection law by the then assembly Speaker.

Sixteen of the 17 have joined BJP on November 14, a dayafter the Supreme Court paved the way for them to contest thebypolls. BJP has given tickets to 13 of the Congress-JDSrebels for the bypolls in their respective seats.

Expressing confidence about partys victory in all the15 seats, though it requires to win only six to remain inpower, Yediyurappa on Sunday said he would campaign in all theconstituencies in support of the newcomers to the party.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, leaders of somepolitical parties have said their aim was to defeat BJPcandidates, but people would give them the right answer.

To make Yediyurappa the Chief Minister and for goodgovernance, they (rebels) resigned and came out (of coalitiongovernment). If people expect Yediyurappa to continue as ChiefMinister and want development, if they desire majoritygovernment, Im confident they will support BJP, he added.

Referring to Congress' objection, he said there wasnothing wrong in promising during campaign that the candidateswould be made ministers if they won.

What is the crime in saying during campaign that we willmake our candidates Ministers if they win?... ElectionCommission cannot do anything on it. It is my prerogative asChief Minister on who should be made Minister or left out, hesaid in response to a question.

Attacking the disqualified MLAs, Congress LegislatureParty leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sundaysaid they should be ashamed to seek votes.

Our stand is very clear we want to defeat the BJP anddisqualified MLAs, it is crystal clear,' he said.

Supreme Court had upheld their disqualification and nowpeople would teach them a lesson in the bypolls, he added.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, whose party is contestingthe bypolls alone, too had recently said defeatingdisqualified MLAs was his partys main strategy.

JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda has claimed the ChiefMinister was 'perturbed' about the winnability of disqualifiedMLAs and hence he was issuing statements about making themministers, with an intention to lure voters.

On Congress strategy for the bypolls, Siddaramaiahsaid Our effort is to win all 15 seats. But we will win atleast 12, he said, adding the party would contest the pollsunder collective leadership and there wont be any rebellion.

A day after announcing second list of six candidates,the Congress on Sunday named P Nagaraj as its candidate inYeshwantpur. With this JD(S) is yet to name its candidates for four seats.

With the announcement of candidates, all the threeparties are facing dissidence within and have mounted effortsto pacify the disgruntled.

The problem was more pronounced in BJP as its decisionto give tickets to the disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs hasnot gone down well with aspirants in some constituencies suchas Hoskote and Kagwad.

Party leader Sharath Bachegowda has decided to contestas independent in Hoskote while former MLA Raju Kage has quitthe BJP and has been fielded by the Congress there.

Yediyurappa on Sunday warned Bachegowda would beexpelled from party and asserted that disqualified legislatorand BJP nominee MTB Nagaraj will emerge triumphant in Hoskote.

Im saying, at no cost Sharath Bachegowda will be ableto win in Hoskote, we are expelling him from the party. Hewill either be removed from the Chairman post (of HousingBoard) or his resignation will be sought, Yediyurappa said.

JD(S) has decided to support Sharath, who lost toNagaraj in 2018 assembly elections, by not fielding anycandidate in Hoskote.

Of the 15 constituencies going to polls, as many as 12were represented by Congress and three by JD(S). PTI KSUVS VS