Rebel MLAs to join BJP, party to announce candidates

Rebel MLAs to join BJP, party to announce candidates

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, his deputy Govind M Karjol, Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, former minister Arvind Limbavali and Revenue Minister R Ashoka arrive for BJP core committee meeting at the party office in Bengaluru

Even as the BJP state leadership remained tight lipped about the candidature of Congress-JD(S) rebels in the bypolls, the disqualified legislators are all set to join the saffron party on Thursday.

A decision that they should join the saffron party was taken after the rebels met the top BJP leadership in New Delhi following the Supreme Court order.

Though an official announcement is awaited, the BJP top brass has assured party tickets to the 15 disqualified MLAs, sources said. The list of BJP candidates is expected to be announced during the day.

A group of disqualified MLAs including H Vishwanath, B C Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Pratapgouda Patil, Gopalaiah, R Shankar, Shivaram Hebbar, Narayan Gowda and Shrimant Patil met BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh, following the SC decision.

During the meeting, Santosh is learnt to have asked them to join the BJP formally and assured them the tickets to contest the bypolls. 

Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan, who accompanied the MLAs, told reporters that all the disqualified MLAs would join the BJP in Bengaluru at 10.30 am on Thursday, in the presence of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel. While refusing to give an assurance on giving tickets to them, the DyCM said everything will be disclosed on Thursday and there is no confusion on this issue.

However, Yediyurappa - following the core committee meeting on Wednesday evening - only announced that rebels would be joining the party, while steering clear of questions on whether all rebels will be fielded by the saffron party in the upcoming polls.

Sources, meanwhile, noted that tickets for the rebels will only be confirmed on Thursday evening after another round of meeting by BJP leaders.

According to BJP general secretary Arvind Limbavali, leaders of the state BJP will deliberate on Thursday and announce the list of candidates. 

JD(S) rebel H Vishwanath expressed confidence that he would contest the bypoll from Hunsur on a BJP ticket and expressed confidence about his victory.

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