By-polls crucial for BJP’s survival in Karnataka

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on December 04, 2019

Former CM and JD(S) leader HD Kumarswamy at an election rally ahead of the Assembly by-poll, in Bengaluru (file photo)   -  PTI

After tasting success in Maharashtra, Congress-JD(S) combine in upbeat mood

Will the by-elections in Karnataka usher in another change in the government or the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sail through? This question has been animatedly discussed on all quarters ahead of the polls.

At the moment, the BJP has 105 legislators in the Assembly and enjoys the support of one independent MLA, taking its strength to 106. To ensure 113 for a simple majority mark in the House, the BJP needs to secure six or seven seats. Fifteen Assembly constituencies are going to polls on Thursday (December 5), the results of which will be out on December 9. Elections to two vacant seats — Maski and RR Nagar (Bengaluru) — are to be held later.

JD(S) angling for power

By-elections in the State were necessitated following the resignation of 17 MLAs (14 from Congress and three from JD-S) to join the BJP. Their resignation led to these MLAs getting disqualified by the then Speaker for the rest of the term. Later the Supreme Court struck down the term of disqualification and got relief to contest.

Buoyed by the post-election scenario in the neighbouring Maharashtra, Janata Dal Secular and Congress, which were in power for 14 months, are upbeat and expect to do better.

In the run-up to the election, BJP embraced the disqualified MLAs and has gone before the voters to elect them for stable government. BL Santosh, BJP’s national general secretary-organisation, tweeted: “Results of 15 AC by-elections to Karnataka Assembly seems to be a foregone conclusion ... The relentless campaign by @BSYBJP, @BJP4Karnataka leaders led by @nalinkateel & individual candidates on one side ... divided , rudderless , beleaguered opposition on the other side. First 100 days administration of @BSYBJP Govt amidst never before flood situation & with administration on track is felt by common man ... This result will bring stability, much needed growth impetus to the state administration.”

Operation Kamala

While JD(S) and Congress have been campaigning hard to teach the turncoats a lesson, Congress fears that if the BJP does not get adequate seats in the by-polls, it may resort to ‘Operation Kamala’ (poaching of MLAs) once again. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “Already, the BJP has started saying they are in touch with our MLAs. I know four MLAs who were contacted by the BJP. They know they can’t get a majority, so they are doing another operation.”

Meanwhile, JD(S) is a divided house with conflicting views emerging from the party. Few MLAs want to offer outside support to BJP, while others are of the opinion to form coalition government with the Congress.

Published on December 04, 2019

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