Bengaluru: The Election Commission decision to defer the bypolls to 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka as conveyed to the Supreme Court, has come as a big relief for the 17 disqualified legislators. Polls to two seats-Maski and RR Nagar have not yet been announced because of pending litigation.
However, this decision has disappointed both Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders who had already initiated the process of finalizing the candidates for 15 assembly seats which were scheduled to go to bypolls on October 21. Both the parties had held meetings separately to pick candidates in the hope that the apex court may not stay the bypolls since the process had already begun with the last date for filing nominations fixed for September 30
But the verdict by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice N.V. Ramana Thursday evening shocked both camps while bringing the cheer on the faces of BJP leaders who were worried after the EC announced the calendar of events for the bypolls.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa welcomed the SC verdict and said this has come as big relief for the 17 disqualified legislators. Now, it is up to them to take a decision on their own, he said.
KPCC President Dinesh Gundurao while welcoming the SC verdict, said it may be only temporary relief as the court will take up the hearing of the case later. "We are optimistic that the disqualification order of then assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar will be upheld by the apex court in the coming days," he said.
Terming the verdict 'historic', disqualified Yellapur MLA Shivaram Hebbar opined that it was a first step towards victory and hoped that the Speaker's order would be set aside by the court. The speaker disqualified them despite the fact that they had resigned from the membership of the assembly, he said.
Meanwhile, an elated Ranebennur Independent MLA R Shankar said he welcomes the SC verdict which has come as big relief for all 17 lawmakers. The Speaker had not considered the plea that his party had not merged with the Congress party and had disqualified him, Mr Shankar said.