While the Congress along with JDS, which do not have a pan-Karnataka presence, have been working towards finalising their candidates for by-elections of 15 seats in the state, the ruling BJP has been in a bind over the fate of disqualified MLAs who are still awaiting the Supreme Court's (SC) verdict on their disqualification.
With just over a month left for the bypolls, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, whose government’s kismet hangs in balance, has been anxious about the outcome of the SC verdict on two petitions regarding the disqualification of the former Congress and JDS MLAs. The strain of the BJP ticket aspirants continues as the disqualified MLAs who are yet to formally join the party, hoist demands on the CM. Former Hunsur MLA and JDS State President H Vishwanath recently announced publicly that all those legislators who were disqualified by former Speaker Ramesh Kumar should be given a BJP ticket to fight by-elections. Speaking in Virajpet, Kodagu, Vishwanath added that since the BJP government was erected primarily because of the disqualified MLAs, they should be prioritised, notwithstanding internal party quibble.
Despite CM Yediyurappa’s reluctance to carve out a new district from Bellari, disqualified MLA Anand Singh printed and distributed 1 lakh posters highlighting the advantages people of the district can reap if Vijayapura is carved out. He also claimed that it will lead to employment creation along with infrastructural growth and financial development. Anand Singh had threatened that without assurance and public proclamation of Bellari bifurcation, he will not contest bypolls. The Reddy brothers, who hold considerable sway over the district, have been vehemently opposing the proposal and have reportedly communicated the same to the BJP state brass, further deepening Yediyurappa’s predicament.
While Yediyurappa has already announced that all disqualified MLAs will be given BJP tickets, BJP State General Secretary Aravind Limbavali said the party will take a call after the SC verdict. He further said that it is roo early to talk about tickets when they have not even joined BJP, and nothing can be decided till SC gives its verdict. Trouble in Belagavi is also escalating as nettled senior BJP legislator Umesh Katti has been skipping meetings on by-elections after he was overlooked for a cabinet berth and Laxman Savadi was given preference. He has been vocal about giving tickets to party loyalists and has been trying to keep at bay the growing influence of the Jarkiholi brothers in Belagavi.