BS Yediyurappa pitches in for rebels with 'development'

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa launches development projects in Hoskote, Bengaluru Rural district on Monday. Ministers J C Madhuswamy, R Ashoka, disqualified MLA M T B Nagaraj and others were present.

Amid uncertainty over their political future, the disqualified ‘rebel’ legislators are leaving no stone unturned to retain their hold on their constituencies ahead of the December 5 bypolls.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who needs to win at least eight of the 15 constituencies going to the bypolls, has also started a campaign of sorts in their favour as he is set to go on a spree of inaugurating development works in these constituencies, before the model code of conduct is enforced on November 11.

On Monday, Yediyurappa launched a Rs 300-crore lift irrigation project to fill up tanks at Congress' rebel MTB Nagaraj's constituency of Hoskote. Similar launches are lined up in the days to come.

According to sources, the disqualified rebels started door-to-door campaigns around a fortnight ago, despite uncertainty over their candidature. Rebels including Congress' Ramesh Jarkiholi and K Gopalaiah of the JD(S) have also communicated their choice of alternative candidates for the constituencies, in case the Supreme Court upholds their disqualification. In fact, a group of rebels huddled up at Jarkiholi's house to discuss the way forward. 

The 'official campaign' for the bypolls, according to BJP leaders, will only commence following the Supreme Court's decision on the petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs, expected on Tuesday.

Speaking to DH, Congress' disqualified Hirekerur legislator B C Patil said that the CM was scheduled to inaugurate projects worth Rs 150 crore in his constituency on November 7. Though his campaign has not "officially" started, Patil said that the development activities undertaken up by him will help his prospects of re-election.

JD(S) rebel from KR Pet constituency, Narayana Gowda, said that he was awaiting the SC decision to announce his candidature. "I will take a call after consulting with party workers from the constituency," he said.

BJP general secretary N Ravi Kumar said that though the party was doing the groundwork to ensure victory in enough number of seats, the formal campaign will only begin after the SC decision.

Sources said the rebels were likely to be inducted into the saffron party shortly after the SC decision, following which a full-fledged campaign will be launched. "They are aware of the challenges they are facing. The rebels have not fared well in elections held in other states. With that in mind, the rebel MLAs must go all guns blazing to secure their re-election," BJP sources said.

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