Expressing confidence over winning all 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka for the December 5 bypolls, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said BJP would select its candidates after the Supreme Court decides on the status of disqualified Congress JD(S) legislators.
"This by-election is very important for us. I have already appointed one minister each as in charge for 15 assembly constituencies. We are confident that we will win all the 15 seats. There is no need to give room for any kind of false propaganda," Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, he said, "Looking at the Supreme Court decision (on disqualified MLAs) on October 22, we will begin the process for selection of our candidates. Our campaign will begin by this month-end. I'm confident that we will hundred per cent win all the 15 constituencies."
The bypolls to 15 out of the 17 seats represented by disqualified MLAs, which the Election Commission had earlier decided to defer until the apex court decides on their plea challenging disqualification, has now been scheduled for December five.
Disqualified Congress-JDS MLAs would be given BJP tickets for the bypolls if they wanted, Yediyurappa had said recently, amid growing opposition in some quarters within the party against any such move.
In a move seen as an attempt to pacify those who were against giving tickets to those disqualified, he had recently appointed eight former BJP candidates from constituencies represented by the disqualified legislators as heads to various boards and corporations.
Among the 15 constituencies going for polls, 12 were represented by Congress and three by JD(S). Yediyurappa, in response to a question on selection of candidates for the by-polls, said the party election committee has decided to finalise it after the Supreme Court decision on October 22.
"After October 23 or 24, discussing with our national leadership, we will take the next decision," he added. The ruling party has 105 MLAs (including one independent) in the assembly, whose current strength is 208 (after 17 disqualifications).
While the Congress' strength is 66, JD(S) has 34 MLAs in the Assembly that also consists of one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker. The actual strength of the assembly is 225 and the half way mark is 113.
BJP needs to win at least six seats in the bypolls for 15 constituencies to remain in a majority in the assembly, which will still have two vacant seats (Maski and R R Nagar). The absence and resignation of the 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy headed coalition government in July and helped BJP come to power.
After examining the petition moved by leadership of both parties, the then assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified the 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs under the anti defection law, which they have challenged in the apex Court.
The then Speaker had ruled that those disqualified cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th assembly (in 2023).
To a question on any fresh loan waiver scheme, citing ongoing rehabilitation work in flood ravaged parts of the state, Yediyurappa said the previous government's loan waiver itself was a huge burden and he would do all that was possible to implement it.
"We will continue it and will not stop. The situation is not feasible now for a new loan waiver," Yediyurappa said.
He also assured all possible assistance from the government to provide relief to those affected by floods. "We will see to it that all those affected are taken care of," he said.