Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday welcomed the verdict of the Supreme Court on former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar's decision to disqualify the 17 rebel MLAs from the Assembly. The SC upheld the decision of Kumar but maintained that the Speaker does not have the power to bar the disqualified MLAs from contesting by-elections.
The court also ruled that the Speaker's decision to bar the 17 rebel MLAs from contesting elections till 2023 was invalid. "We are upholding the order of the Speaker," said Justice Ramana while reading out the judgment. "Since we are deciding disqualification, resignation is not needed to be gone into. As such there is no doubt that disqualification has nothing to do with resignation," the court said.
Speaking to the media, Yediyurappa welcomed the decision that all 17 MLAs can contest by-elections. He said from Thursday onwards they will go to all the assembly constituencies, adding that they will win all the 17 seats. "I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court which has given the verdict that all 17 MLAs can contest by-elections. Tomorrow onwards we are going to go to all assembly constituencies. We are going to win all the 17 seats 101%," said Yediyurappa.
When asked if all the 17 MLAs will join the BJP, the CM asked to wait till Thursday evening. "Just wait till evening. I will discuss with them, I will discuss with the national leadership also. We will take an appropriate decision in the evening," said CM Yediyurappa.
A total of 17 disqualified Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs of Karnataka had challenged the orders of the then Assembly speaker Kumar to disqualify them and had approached the apex court. The legislators had revolted against the former coalition government of Congress and JD (S) resulting in its collapse. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the chief ministership of BS Yediyurappa formed the government in the state after JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy quit as the chief minister.