Lok Sabha bypoll: Opposition growing in K'taka Cong

Lok Sabha bypoll: Opposition growing in K'taka Cong

Water Resource Minister D K Shivakumar. DH file photo.

Opposition to the bypolls for the three vacant Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka is growing, with Water Resource Minister D K Shivakumar being the latest to question the rationale behind the Election Commission’s decision.

The Election Commission has announced bypolls for the Ballari, Shivamogga and Mandya seats, on November 3. These seats will have a term which won't last beyond six months.

“We have seen Andhra Pradesh where MPs resigned. Three MPs from Karnataka also resigned. But why is the law different for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka? We are neighbouring states. The Election Commission and the Central government should tell us,” Shivakumar told reporters here, when asked if the Congress would even contest the bypolls-- given the short tenure these seats have.

Shivakumar was referring to the resignation of five YSR Congress MPs in June this year.

Former minister Kimmane Rathnakar has also shot off a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, demanding withdrawal of the bypoll notification, failing which he would move court.

“You are aware that there are eight other Parliamentary byelections in India, including Andhra Pradesh, Odisha etc. The Parliamentary seats will not survive even for four months in Karnataka. I do not find reasonable grounds not to conduct byelection in other four states and to conduct byelections only in Karnataka,” Rathnakar wrote, terming the Election Commission’s decision as “suspicious, doubtful...waste of money, energy, labour...”

The bypolls seem to have taken the Congress by surprise, with both Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah calling it “unexpected” and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao calling it “unnecessary.”

On Monday, Congress legislator K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur) urged the Congress-JD(S) coalition to boycott the bypolls as “a mark of protest” against the Election Commission’s decision. “What a waste of exchequer money and dance of democracy?” Sudhakar tweeted.