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"EC is puppet of the govt" says HDK on Karnataka by-polls deferment

By Vishal S

Bengaluru, Sep 26: Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JDS chief HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday called the Election Commission a "puppet" of the Union Government over poll body's decision to defer the bypolls in 15 assembly seats in Karnataka in wake of the petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the disqualification of the rebel lawmakers.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JDS chief HD Kumaraswamy

17 rebels, 14 from the Congress and 3 from the JD(S) had challenged the order of the former speaker, Ramesh Kumar of disqualifying them. These MLAs then abstained from voting during Kumaraswamy's floor test and the Congress-JDS coalition government fell. BJP then formed the government as they had the numbers due to the reduced strength of the assembly.

The bypolls in these 15 assembly seats in Karnataka were scheduled for October 21, with the results to be declared on October 24. The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that it would defer the elections to 15 Karnataka Assembly constituencies until the petitions of the disqualified MLAs are decided. Based on this submission the SC deferred hearing on the matter until October 22.

"In Indian political history it's the first time such a decision has been given by a constitutional authority. Anyone can judge EC is puppet of the government," HD Kumaraswamy said.

[EC agrees in SC to defer Karnataka by-polls until plea of rebels is decided][EC agrees in SC to defer Karnataka by-polls until plea of rebels is decided]

On Wednesday, the rebels sought to make the Election Commission of India a party in the petition and filed applications to this effect. This was done after the EC had said that these MLAs, disqualified by the Speaker should be allowed to contest the upcoming by-elections in Karnataka.

While Mukul Rohatgi is arguing for the rebels, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta is appearing for the office of the Speaker. Rohatgi told the court that the MLAs are not scared to go back to the people. Let the people decide how they have conducted themselves when there is no bar on submitting their resignations, when disqualification petitions are pending, he also said. The EC had said that the rebels could contest the elections pending the order of the Supreme Court.

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