Reacting to the Election Commission's decision to defer by-polls in Karnataka for 15 Legislative Assembly seats, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Dinesh Gundu Rao, on Thursday, has said that it was a victory for the Congress, in conversation with ANI. He stated that the Supreme Court is looking in great detail into the anti-defection law. He added that the true meaning of Speaker Ramesh Kumar's order of disqualifying all 17 rebel MLAs will be realised. He condemned the rebel MLAs for falling into BJP's trap.
"With the hearing on October 22 Supreme Court has realised the importance of anti-defection law, its true meaning and the historic order passed by Ramesh Kumar. That is being looked into in greater depth. It cannot be used to destroy democracy. So there is no relief for these disqualified MLAs. These MLAs have fallen into the BJP trap. Today, they are facing the consequences. People's mandate should not be used for profit and money," he said.
Slamming BJP for giving false promises, Rao alleged that the saffron party has lured their MLAs with portfolios. He further alleged that BJP had promised cancellation of the MLAs' disqualification. He added that now the MLAs were facing consequences of their action. The EC had announced the dates for Karnataka by-polls on Tuesday.
"They were told - 'You defect and come to our party, we will handle the Supreme Court, we will handle the Supreme Court judges. Within no time your disqualifications will be cancelled and you will be able to become ministers. And when the by-elections will be held, you will be contested as ministers.' Some were offered Deputy Chief Minister, Irrigation portfolio, Energy portfolio. Now after two-and-a-half months later, they are still disqualified," he added.
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it would defer the upcoming by-polls of 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka, whose MLAs were disqualified earlier. The Supreme Court is currently hearing the plea by the rebel MLAs challenging the order of former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar disqualifying them from the House. The EC had opposed the plea of disqualified MLAs to stay the elections till the SC verdict on their petitioning challenging former speaker’s actions. Meanwhile, the apex court will continue to hear the case on October 22. Both rebel MLAs and Congress have stated that they have no objections to the deferring of polls.
The halfway mark in Karnataka assembly is 112 and in a truncated assembly, BJP had won the trust vote comfortably as the magic number was 105.BJP legislators, with the support of an independent MLA, had sailed smoothly. In the upcoming by-polls, BJP will have to win at least 8 of the 15 seats to retain their government in the state. The opposition parties, Congress and JDS, which had formed the previous government together have decided to fight the by-elections separately, without a pre-poll alliance with each other. With the wafer-thin majority of the current BJP government, all eyes are set on the SC's verdict and EC's decision.