The Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka on Friday petitioned the Election Commission to countermand the bye-election scheduled for November 3 in Ramanagara Assembly constituency days after its candidate dropped out of the contest and rejoined the Congress, PTI reported.
L Chandrashekhar, who was set to go up against Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita Kumaraswamy, claimed to have withdrawn from the election as he was worried about his future in the BJP and accused the party of abandoning him after giving him the ticket. However, state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa accused senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar and his brother DK Suresh of “giving money” to make Chandrashekhar return to the Congress.
In its petition, the Opposition party alleged that senior leaders of the ruling alliance of the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress had colluded to ensure no contest takes place. The developments are the “convergence of undue influence” of Chandrashekhar, DK Suresh, Anita Kumaraswamy and the chief minister, it added.
Party legislator and spokesperson Ashwath Narayan submitted the plea to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, PTI reported. The party said Chandrashekhar’s decision violates the “free and absolute right” of BJP voters to cast their votes. “When the candidate has left the BJP and joined the Congress, his name in the voters ballot as BJP candidate has no meaning,” it added. “Therefore, the entire election process is vitiated.”
A senior state Election Commission officer told The News Minute that it was highly unlikely for the bye-election to be cancelled. “We have not received any instructions from ECI [Election Commission of India],” the official said. “I do not think there is a chance of elections being countermanded. The withdrawal from polls by a candidate after the notified date of withdrawal [October 20] is unofficial. His [Chandrashekar] name and symbols will be in the EVMs. His party had supported till the last day of withdrawal of candidature and that is why his name is already in the ballot.”
Ramanagara is one of the two constituencies Kumaraswamy contested the Assembly elections in May from. The chief minister vacated this seat while retaining Channapatna. On Saturday, bye-polls will also be held in three Lok Sabha constituencies – Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya and in Jamkhandi Assembly seat. Votes will be counted on November 6.