BENGALURU: When the Supreme Court upheld the then Karnataka assembly speaker’s decision to disqualify 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs but allowed them to contest the upcoming December 5 bypolls, it created a flutter in the already turbulent
apex court allowed the rebels to fight election
from constituencies that fell vacant after their disqualification.
The unanimous judgment by a bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari will have major implications in the state politics and its main players.
BS YediyurappaYediyurappa was caught between the devil and deep sea, having to please party leaders on the one hand and abide by his promise to disqualified MLAs to safeguard their political careers on the other. With the SC verdict, the 76-year-old leader can breathe easy now as he has time enough to set his house in order and take up cabinet expansion. Yediyurappa will also be in a much better position to dictate terms for the disqualified legislators. Though not easy, the Lingayat strongman will flex his muscles to ensure victory for as many disqualified legislators as possible.
SiddaramaiahAlready battling revolt from within the party, Siddaramaiah faces a tough challenge in the bypolls. With 14 of the 17 disqualified MLAs Congress leaders, many of whom were his loyalists, he has vowed to “teach them a lesson” for ditching him and the party. Siddaramaiah is already facing flak for not taking senior leaders into confidence and not owning accountability for previous poll debacles. The bypolls has put the AHINDA strongman’s leadership on notice since it will be fought under his stewardship.
HD Deve GowdaFormer Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda has a straight-forward proposition before him. With three of the 17 legislators being from the JD(S), Gowda will be looking to compensate for the disastrous outing in the Lok Sabha elections where he and grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy lost miserably. Gowda will also be looking to the byelections to cement his position as the supreme leader of the Vokkaliga community and thereby secure his sons’ and grandsons’ futures in politics. Gowda will also be eying the king maker role by winning more than three seats.
DK ShivakumarLooking to resurrect his career after being released from jail, former minister DK Shivakumar has begun to reach out to his Vokkaliga community in a bid to emerge its strongest leader, edging out the likes of HD Kumaraswamy and the JD(S). That HD Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy had to personally back Shivakumar during the latter’s incarceration clearly puts the Kanakapura MLA on top. With at least five of the 15 bypoll seats having a sizeable Vokkaliga votebank, it will serve as an opportunity for him to emerge a strong leader.