Bengaluru: It’s been a nail-biting day for political leaders in Karnataka that is awaiting the results of by-elections to 15 constituencies on Monday.
There’s anxiety over which way the numbers would swing and speculations have already started doing the rounds about some lawmakers willing to switch camps.
On this, disqualified MLA ST Somashekhar, based on personal experience, has an advice for those wanting to jump ship.
“Seven JD-S (Janata Dal-Secular) and three or four Congress MLAs got in touch with me to join the BJP. We suffered for three-four months, (our reputations) were damaged in the state… constituency. They too should be ready for all this. Learn from what we’ve gone through. Don't resign if you don't want (to deal with) all this,” said Somashekhar, a former Congress MLA who contested from Yeshwanthpur on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.
Seventeen MLAs from the Congress and JD(S), including Somashekhar, had resigned in July this year that led to the fall of the coalition government, headed by HD Kumaraswamy, and helped the BJP come to power.
All the 17 lawmakers were disqualified for the rest of the term by the then assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. However, a subsequent Supreme Court order while upholding the disqualification, allowed them to contest the bypolls held on December 5.
Thirteen of them contested on BJP tickets. The saffron camp needs to win at least six of the seats to remain in power. Two of the 17 constituencies are yet to see elections as separate cases are pending in court.
During a recent event in Belagavi, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi had openly made an offer to the Congress bypoll candidate Raju Kage to join the BJP.
“Join us after three-and-a-half years. We will keep a position ready for you along with (Mahesh) Kumthalli and Shrimant Patil (both Congress turncoats),” said Savadi during his speech.
Kage, who had finished his speech before Savadi, told News18 there was no question of him switching camps. "Even if the party leadership offers me (Chief Minister) BS Yediyurappa’s chair, I wouldn’t join the BJP,” said Kage.