BENGALURU: Fifteen out of 17 rebel Karnataka MLAs of Congress and Janata Dal (S) joined the BJP on Thursday in the presence of state's Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
They were induected into the saffron party fold a day after the Supreme Court allowed the 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs to contest the upcoming assembly by-election in Karnataka.
Responding to the top court verdict, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had on Wednesday confirmed that all the disqualified rebel MLAs will join BJP.
"All the Congress-JD(S) MLAs who had rebelled want to join the BJP by tomorrow 10 am. We welcome the Supreme Court decision and our (state) president is going to receive them and the membership will be given to them tomorrow," Yediyurappa said at a press conference after the party`s core committee meeting.
On Wednesday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari in its verdict upheld the disqualification of the 17 MLAs which was done ahead of the July 23 trust vote by the orders of the then Speaker Ramesh Kumar but allowed all of them to contest by-polls.
BJP general secretary and MLA Arvind Limbavali said that the party is set to gain from the induction of the turncoat MLAs and their supporters. He also added that the party`s candidate list for the by-polls will be finalised by Thursday evening.
Citing party sources, the top leadership, including BJP chief Amit Shah and working president JP Nadda, an ANI report said that they have given their go-ahead for fielding the disqualified MLAs from their erstwhile seats. The decision was reportedly taken at a high-level meeting, in which senior state leaders were also present.
In the Karnataka elections, BJP had emerged as the largest party with 105 seats but failed to secure a majority in the 225-members assembly. The party is expecting that the by-polls on the 17 seats will boost their tally in the state.
Assembly by-poll dates for Karnataka were announced on Sunday by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjeev Kumar. A total of 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka are going to by-polls on December 5, while the counting of the votes will take place on December 9.