The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday nominated some rebel legislators, who helped Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa form the government last year, to the state Legislative Council, NDTV reported. The resignation of 17 MLAs had led to the fall of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka last July. Elections to seven seats of the Legislative Council are scheduled for July 29.
The BJP candidates for the Legislative Council polls are Prathap Simha Nayak, MTB Nagaraj, R Shankar and Sunil Valyapure. Of these, two – Nagaraj and Shankar – are defectors, while Nayak and Valyapure had earlier been sidelined by the saffron party.
Nagaraj is a former Congress MLA who joined other rebel MLAs in a Mumbai hotel in July last year, hours after promising to stay loyal to the erstwhile Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance. Nagaraj lost the December 2019 bye-polls to reclaim his Hoskote seat, to former BJP leader and Independent candidate Sharat Bache Gowda, The News Minute reported.
R Shankar was an Independent who withdrew his support from the HD Kumaraswamy-led government soon after it had made him a minister. Shankar later joined the BJP. But he too suffered a defeat as a BJP candidate in the December 2019 bye-elections. But the BJP left out H Vishwanath, the former Karnataka president of the Janata Dal (Secular), who switched to the saffron party.
The Congress candidates for the MLC elections are BK Hariprasad and Naseer Ahmed.
The BJP’s list is a concession to Yediyurappa and its Karnataka chief Nalin Kumar Katell’s demands. While Yediyurappa had backed Nagaraj, Shankar and Valyapure, Katell wanted a ticket for Nayak, who is the BJP Dakshina Kannada district. The BJP dropped former Channapatna MLA CP Yogeeshwar and H Vishwanath, its top two contenders, The News Minute reported.
In February, Yediyurappa inducted 10 new ministers into his six-month-old Cabinet. All 10 were defectors from the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular). One of the rebel leaders, Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, was left out.
In November last year, the Supreme Court had confirmed the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs by former Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. However, the court cancelled the speaker’s order to bar the 17 legislators from contesting polls till 2023.