Bypolls: Cong, BJP ‘surprised’ over rebel MLAs’ plea

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao. (DH Photo)

The Congress on Friday strongly opposed the disqualified legislators’ plea seeking deferment of the December 5 bypolls. 

“The disqualified MLAs have placed their plea before the Supreme Court. Our lawyers will argue that the bypolls should not be postponed,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters. 

“Let the Supreme Court make a decision on whether or not the disqualified MLAs should contest, but the bypolls should happen. The SC cannot postpone it. If it does, then we won’t know whom to trust anymore. If the polls happen, then these rebels will be taught a proper lesson,” Rao said. 

The Congress is desperate for vengeance against the disqualified MLAs because of whom the Congress-JD(S) coalition government collapsed. For the ruling BJP, the bypolls are crucial as it needs to win at least 7-8 seats to ensure a majority in the Assembly.

Rao also hit out at the ruling BJP for “neglecting” development in the state. “It’s better to dissolve the Assembly and go for fresh polls. What’s the point in having a government like this where the CM has no support, and the CM is busy trying to safeguard the interests of the disqualified MLAs?” he said.

On Saturday, the Congress has convened a meeting of legal experts, including senior leader Kapil Sibal, to discuss the way forward. According to sources, the party has been taken aback by the disqualified legislators seeking postponement of the bypolls. “It could either mean that they are scared to face the polls, or that they are up to something else,” a leader said. 

The state BJP was also “surprised” over the rebels seeking postponement of the bypolls.

“The petition seeking postponement of the bypolls was filed independently and is not linked with our party,” BJP general secretary N Ravikumar said. “However, we are prepared for the polls,” he said, adding that the party will finalize candidates soon after the SC judgement. 

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