BENGALURU: Polling is currently underway in 15 assembly seats of Karnataka on Thursday amid tight security arrangements. The counting of votes will be held on December 9, according to an announcement by the ECI.
The by-election is being held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, KR Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K.R. Pete and Hunsur.
As many as 248 candidates, including 128 independents are in the fray for the 15 assembly by-elections in Karnataka on December 5, according to the state Election Commission. The BJP and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are contesting in all the 15 seats separately that will lead to triangular fights.
The Election Commission had on November 13 said that the assembly by-elections in the state will be held according to the schedule. The date for filing the nomination was November 18.
The by-election has been necessitated due to the disqualification of the 14 Congress and 3 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) rebel legislators after they resigned from their respective assembly seats in July in protest against the former coalition government`s functioning.
Though former assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified 17 rebels lawmakers on July 25-28 for reportedly defying their party whip, bye-polls in Muski (Raichur district) and RR Nagar (Bengaluru southwest) have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 assembly elections.
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court recently upheld the disqualification of rebel Congress-JDS Karnataka MLAs while also allowing them to contest polls again.
Announcing its decision, the Supreme Court also upheld the decision of former Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to disqualify 17 rebel MLAs from the Assembly but maintained that the Speaker does not have the power to bar the disqualified MLAs from contesting by-elections. The apex court also ruled that the Speaker's decision to bar the 17 rebel MLAs from contesting elections till 2023 was invalid.
The by-election, which is crucial for the BS Yeddyurappa government, was necessitated following the resignation of 17 MLAs from Congress and the JDS. The Karnataka Legislative Assembly has a total of 207 MLAs, out of which 104 are from the BJP.
Currently, Congress has 65 MLAs while JDS has 34 MLAs and together there are 99 MLAs in opposition. Both these parties have to win all the 15 seats in the by-election if they want to keep BJP away from power.
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