16 disqualified Cong-JD(S) MLAs join BJP, ticket likely for most of them

A day after the Supreme Court paved the way for them to contest the December 5 Assembly bypolls in Karnataka, 16 disqualified Congress-JD(S) legislators today joined the BJP here, and most of them are likely to get party tickets.
BJP that aims to win a majority of the 15 constituencies where bypolls will be held is likely to field most of them as the party candidates, and the indication to this effect came directly from Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, as he addressed disqualified legislators as “future MLAs andMinisters”, while welcoming them into the party. Yediyurappa, along with the state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel and National General Secretary in charge of Karnataka, P Muralidhar Rao were among those who welcomed them into the party fold at state BJP headquarters here. Senior party leaders said, the state BJP is likely to sendits final list of candidates to the central leadership forapproval by today evening.
The Supreme Court yesterday had upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka by thethen Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar but paved the way forthem to contest the by-polls.
While upholding their disqualification, the apex courtset aside the portion of the orders by the then Speaker bywhich the legislators were disqualified till the end of the current Assembly’s term in 2023. However, R Roshan Baig, a disqualified Congress legislator from Shivajinagar, was not inducted into the party on today. BJP sources cited “reservations” expressed by party leadership over Baig, who is facing inquiry in the IMA ponzi scam, among the reasons for his non-induction. Interestingly, Baig, a seven-time legislator, yesterday claimed he will be joining BJP along with the other legislators. According to top party sources, BJP is likely to fieldformer corporator from Ulsoor M Saravana from Shivajinagar constituency as the candidate. Saravana too has confirmedabout his candidature.
“It is because of the sacrifice of these 17 Congress-JD(S) legislators and they quitting as MLAs, some even as Minister, I have been able to take oath as the Chief Minister,” Yediyurappa said. Welcoming disqualified MLAs and their supporters, he said, “as the Chief Minister along with the party President I would like to assure you that, we will keep up the promise made to you word to word and won’t betray you.” (PTI)