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Bypoll results today set to decide fate of Karnataka rebels | India News


BENGALURU/HUBALI/BELAGAVI: Counting of votes of the byelections to 15 assembly seats is set to commence at 8 am on Monday and the fate of chief minister BS Yediyurappa, his government and that of 13 disqualified MLAs would be clear around mid-day.
The BJP needs to win at least six seats to continue in power. It is confident of securing a majority — as is the opposition Congress and JD(S). A victory in six seats will take BJP’s number in the assembly to 112 in a 223-member house (it has the support of independent Mulbagal MLA and excise minister H Nagesh).
But an ‘unfavourable’ result for the BJP would mean a resurgence of the Congress and JD(S). The BJP might then continue ‘Operation Lotus’ (poach MLAs from the rival parties) or push for President’s rule.
The opposition parties, especially the JD(S), are hoping to limit the BJP to less than five seats. This could pave the way for a new alliance with the JD(S) emerging kingmaker. The regional party could either support the BJP, or it could forge another alliance with the Congress and form another coalition government.
However, Yediyurappa insisted that he would lead a “stable government” for the next three-and-a-half years as he expects the party to bag 13 seats. “I am confident the BJP will win 13 of the 15 seats. According to our expectations, the Congress and JD(S) will win one each,” Yediyurappa said on Sunday.
Reacting to Yediyurappa’s comment, Congress legislator DK Shivakumar sarcastically said the BJP might win all 15 seats. “I don’t know why Yediyurappa left two seats for the opposition parties,” Shivakumar said. “People may have blessed his government in all seats which went to polls.”
In Belagavi, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said the BJP’s hope to win a majority “is an illusion and is based on the exit polls”. “Exit polls have been proved wrong time and again and most recently in Maharashtra and Haryana,” Siddaramaiah said. “BJP leaders who are saying Karnataka will be Congress-mukt are living in a make-believe world.”
JD(S) state president HK Kumaraswamy said the opposition parties combined would get more than 12 seats and the BJP government will fall after results are declared on Monday.
The bigger question, however, is how many of the 13 disqualified MLAs, who contested on BJP tickets, would get ministerial berths if Yediyurappa’s government survives. BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel categorically said only those who win would be made ministers.
“The BJP has delivered justice to the disqualified MLAs by giving them party tickets. But, inducting them into the cabinet will depend on poll results and the party’s central leadership,” Kateel said in Hubballi.
However, ST Somashekahar, a disqualified MLA and BJP candidate from Yeshwantpur, said the disqualified MLAs are not demanding ministerial berth. “The law does not allow disqualified MLAs to be a minister. We are not even asking for it. All the disqualified MLAs will meet after the results are declared and take a decision,” said Somashekhar.
The fate of two disqualified MLAs will continue to be in limbo as elections were not held in two vacant seats — Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Maski — due to legal battles in the high court over the 2018 results.

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