Bengaluru: Thursday’s assembly and by-election results, in which several candidates who defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost their seats, has reinvigorated the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) in Karnataka ahead of the 5 December bypolls in 15 constituencies.
Both H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Siddaramaiah of the Congress believe that the by-poll and election results, in which the BJP has lost ground and seats, will work in its favour when Karnataka heads to the bypolls.
“They (BJP) had scared legislators and poached them into joining the BJP and created a situation where the opposition do not have any candidates. But the voter has showed that they are smart too," Kumaraswamy said on Thursday.
The Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government had to step down from power after 17 legislators from both parties resigned, allegedly at the behest of the BJP that later formed the government under B.S. Yediyurappa.
Though the BJP had earlier feigned innocence, Yediyurappa has acknowledged that the rebels will be given tickets to contest the by-polls. To be sure, the Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition of the 17 rebels who have challenged the disqualification handed out to them by the then Karnataka legislative assembly speaker, K.R. Ramesh Kumar. According to the Speaker’s verdict, the 17 rebels will not be able to contest the by-polls.
Alpesh Khodaji Thakor, a popular former Congress legislator from Radhanpur in Gujarat, lost his seat by a margin of 3,807 votes even though he defected to the BJP. Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil defeated Udayanraje Bhonsle by a margin of 85,689 votes after the latter defected to the BJP, which is in power at both Centre and state.
“This time also people have rejected defectors," Siddaramaiah posted on Twitter in Kannada.
Both him and Kumaraswamy also believe that there is a good possibility that the December bypolls may not be held itself considering the current conditions in Karnataka.
“There is no guarantee that there will be by-polls in December. The EC is not working independently and is being remotely controlled," Kumaraswamy alleged.
Siddaramaiah said that if the by-polls are held, the Congress will be able to bag majority of the seats that will force Yediyurappa to step down from power.
Yediyurappa-led BJP will require at least eight out of the 17 to remain in power but this would be a wafer thin majority that would leave it as vulnerable as the Congress-JD(S) dispensation earlier this year. The BJP is trying to lure some more legislators from across the aisle, according to party leaders and workers on both sides. The Congress and JD(S) believe that BJP national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are keen on removing Yediyurappa from the party.