H Vishwanath, Roshan Baig and Ramesh Jarkiholi, who are among the 17 MLAs disqualified by Karnataka speaker, on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing them to contest the upcoming by-elections and expressed willingness to extend support to BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in the state.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the then Karnataka speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to disqualify 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law but ruled that they can contest the upcoming by-elections in the state. “I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court where they have said that the disqualified MLAs can contest the elections. So, now we are preparing to contest the elections. Nothing will happen to the government. Majority of the MLAs will win the election and the government will be safe.
Resonating similar sentiments, Jarkiholi said, “The government in Karnataka is safe. We will move ahead under the leadership of BS Yediyurappa.”
Vishwanath said, “I welcome the judgement of the Supreme Court. We should be happy because the apex court has awarded a judgement.”
Meanwhile, Independent disqualified MLA R Shankar said, “I was not supposed to be disqualified as I was an Independent. I will meet my lawyer and will take further action after consulting him.”
The rebel legislators were disqualified by the then speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in July under the anti-defection law after they tendered their resignation. They were also barred from contesting polls for the duration of the current assembly, which is slated to end in 2023.
The move had led to fall of the Congress-JD (S) coalition government, paving way for BJP to stake claim to form a new government in the state. The disgruntled MLAs then moved the apex court challenging their disqualification. They sought quashing of the order passed by the speaker and prohibition imposed on them to contest elections. The matter was reserved by the court on October 25.
The elections for 15 out of 17 seats are slated to be held on December 5
After their disqualification, the strength of the 224-member Assembly had come down to 207. This had brought down the majority mark to 104. The BJP, which helms the government in the state, has 106 MLAs in the Assembly.