Anti-defection rules come into play as parties look to pluck independents

The anti-defection rules in the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act has assumed greater significance in the wake of a seemingly fractu­red verdict that recent BBMP election has thrown up.

Of the 198 wards, the BJP pocketed 100 seats while the Congress and the JD(S) have secured 76 and 14 seats respectively. Seven corporator-elects are independent candidates while one candidate won on the SDPI ticket.

With the MLAs, MLCs and MPs including Rajya Sabha members from the BBMP areas have the voting powers, the BJP is said to be short of at least four corporators to reach the magic number. While the BJP is confident of bringing, at least, five independents under its fold and retain the power in the Palike, the Congress and the JD(S) are lobbying hard to spoil BJP’s game plan.

A senior BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, told Deccan Herald, “Five of the seven independents are the party’s rebel candidates.” On the other hand, the Congress and the JD(S) too are claiming that they have the support of all the eight corporators.

The anti-defection rules in the KMC Act do not prevent the independents from lending their support from outside. But if they want to join any political party, then they have to do it within a month of getting elected. A senior Palike official said that terminating the membership actually helps the rebel candidate to join party of his choice.

In the previous council, Padmanabha Reddy, a corporator who was elected on JD(S) ticket from the Kacharakanahalli ward in 2010 elections, later joined the BJP to fight the Assembly elections in 2013. He was immediately expelled from JD(S) for switching loyalty. His expulsion had, in fact, helped him in aligning with the BJP.

“In my case, I did not join the BJP on my own but I was expelled from the party (JD-S). Once I was expelled, I was free to join any party. I had then preferred BJP,” Padmanabha Reddy said.

Former Nandini Layout Congress corporator M Nagaraj who rebelled against his party to contest 2013 Assembly election as an independent candidate. After he lost the Assembly election, he sat as an independent candidate in the Palike as he was expelled from the party after his rebellion.

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