Rebel trouble: Congress plans to payback BJP in the same coin
Bengaluru, Oct 15: As the by election race heats up, the Congress seems to be determined to payback the BJP with the same 'rebel' coin.
Senior Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi has said that some of the defeated BJP candidates from the last elections are likely to jump ship.
"Rebels in the BJP have discussed with the Congress high command. They are in touch with me. They are ready to contest from constituencies represented by disqualified legislators," Jarkiholi said in Belagavi.
Echoing a similar statement, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said that the party is open to all who wish to join the party.
"It's true, some of the rebel leaders are in contact with me, even the BJP leaders are willing to join the Congress" he said.
The development hints how the Congress was planning to payback BJP with the same coin and make life difficult for the disqualified legislators, whose resignations brought down the coalition government.
Former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs 14 of the Congress and three of the Janata Dal (Secular) for their part in toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. The BJP was able to form the government in a reduced house strength with its 104 MLAs and the support of one independent MLA.
For the BJP the best chance would be in fielding the rebels in the constituencies where by-polls are to be held. These are strongholds of the Congress and JD(S) and political experts say that the BJP's chances were not exactly bright.
If it decided to field the rebel lawmakers in the event of relief from the SC, then the resentment factor on the ground would also be a major factor.
With the mounting pressure from the disqualified MLAs and party loyalists to be rewarded with poll tickets, the saffron party is in a tight spot to decide on tickets ahead of the polls.
After the by-polls are conducted, the magic number in the house would be 111 and the BJP would have had to win 6 out of the 15 seats that are going to polls.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the plea by the rebel MLAs challenging their disqualifcation. The EC had opposed the plea of disqualified MLAs to stay the elections till the SC verdict on their petitioning challenging former speaker's actions. Meanwhile, the apex court will continue to hear the case on October 22.