Council byelection a litmus test for JD(S), Congress

Council byelection a litmus test for JD(S), Congress

The upcoming byelections to three seats of the Legislative Council will be a litmus test for the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in the wake of the political situation in the state.

With the Jarkiholi brothers threatening to raise a banner of revolt against the party, ensuring that all the disgruntled MLAs vote in favour of the alliance candidates will be a big challenge.

As voting will be held in the secret ballot system, the alliance partners are worried about the possibility of cross-voting.

The byelections are necessitated due to the resignation of G Parameshwara, K S Eshwarappa and V Somanna, who got elected to the Legislative Assembly a few months ago. Voting is scheduled to be held on October 3. Members of the Assembly are the voters and a candidate has to secure a minimum of 112 votes to emerge victorious.

Among the 222 Assembly members, the BJP is the single-largest party with 104 members, followed by the Congress with 78 and the JD(S) 36. Besides, there are four other members: The Speaker, BSP, KPJP, and an Independent. Nominations for the elections have already begun and September 22 is the last date for it.

The Jarkiholi brothers – Ramesh and Satish of Belagavi - have been arm-twisting the Congress to get their demands fulfilled.

Their demands include making Satish either deputy chief minister or state Congress president; accommodating some of their followers either in the Cabinet or as heads of boards and corporations; and stopping Minister D K Shivakumar from interfering in Belagavi politics.

The ‘powerful’ brothers are learnt to be in touch with many of the disgruntled MLAs. They have been trying to muster the support of the legislators to mount pressure on the party.

“The Congress has to put an end to confusion at the earliest. Otherwise, it will affect both the coalition partners in the polls,” a senior JD(S) leader who refused to be quoted

The coalition partners are yet to finalise the candidates. It is said the JD(S) wants to negotiate with the Congress on fielding two of its

Talks between leaders of the two parties is likely to begin after Congress leader Siddaramaiah returns from Europe tour. With the existing strength, the coalition partners can win all three seats if there is no cross voting.

The BJP too has been planning to field its candidates, but the party has not finalised the names so far.

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