New Delhi/ Bengaluru: The fate of the 17 Congress and JD(S) rebel MLAs in the case on whether the Karnataka Speaker’s decision to disqualify them should be upheld, is expected to take a crucial turn after a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said on Monday that it will consult Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on constituting a bench on Tuesday, to consider the explosive new material handed in by the Karnataka Congress.
The Congress wants the SC to take on record an audio clip in which Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa is purportedly heard hitting out at his BJP rivals for not recognising the ‘sacrifice’ of the disqualified Cong-ress-JD(S) MLAs, because of whom the BJP was able to come to power.
The future of the disqualified MLAs depends on the court decision as they can contest the December 5 Assembly bypolls only if they get the nod from the court. They can contest if their disqualification is set aside and their resignations from the state Assembly are accepted, sources explained. If the case gets prolonged and the verdict is delayed, it could affect the chances of the disqualified MLAs contesting the bypolls to 15 Assembly seats.
The future of the Yediyurappa government too hinges on the results of the bypolls and the CM may find himself in a precarious situation if the BJP fails to win at least 8 of the 15 seats.
In the audio clip which surfaced last Friday, Yediyurappa is reportedly heard expressing anguish against leaders at a meeting in Hubballi over their opposition to giving tickets to the disqualified MLAs for the December 5 Assembly bypolls in 15 constituencies. The Congress contends that this is enough proof of the horse trading tactics adopted by the BJP to topple the previous JD(S)-Congress coalition government.
What has made the audio tape even more controversial is the statement on tape by Yediyurappa that the rebel MLAs, who were later disqualified, were kept in Mumbai during the final days of the coalition government under BJP national president Amit Shah's watch. “I feel I have made a mistake by forcing the 17 MLAs to resign and becoming Chief Minister with their help as party leaders are not supporting them. All these legislators also look foolish by trusting us and sacrificing their positions. What was the need for them to resign and help us come to power when we should have been in the opposition? They stayed away from their constituencies and family members by camping in Mumbai for two- and-a-half to three months on the direction of Amit Shah,” Yediyurappa reportedly says on the tape.