The BJP in Karnataka has opted out of the Legislative Council bye-elections scheduled to be held on October 4. The JD(S) and Congress which is currently in power in the state fielded its candidates for three vacant positions on Monday, the last day for filing nominations.
The BJP's decision to stay away from the bye-elections comes as a surprise to many of its party members who were gearing up for the polls. A BJP leader put the decision down to the lack of numbers. "HD Kumaraswamy has made failed attempts to lure our MLAs. The BJP has made a decision to stay out of the MLC elections, the reason obviously being the numbers," the leader said.
Each candidate requires 112 votes to win the elections in which MLAs will exercise their right to vote. The BJP won 104 seats in the Assembly Elections against the 118 members in the JD(S)-Congress coalition. The bye-elections are being conducted to fill up vacancies created by the resignation of BJP leaders KS Eshwarappa and V Somanna, and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who have been elected to the Assembly.
The BJP's state unit, which is in the news for its attempts to upstage the coalition government, has decided to stay away from the bye-elections altogether. "Kumaraswamy feels threatened because his government rests on an alliance of convenience. The constant infighting and disgruntlement within the Congress have been a constant source of worry to him. So much so that he, unmindful of being under oath, called for an open revolt of the people," alleged BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash.
The news comes as a boost to the Congress in the state as it prepares to meet for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Tuesday.
The BJP's state unit is keen to gain power in the state but is also wary that another unsuccessful attempt to grab power in the state will lead to an embarrassing situation for the party, just months before the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. In fact, a letter addressed to his party colleagues by Lehar Singh Siroya, BJP leader and member of Karnataka Legislative Council, cautioned against "dragging the Prime Minister and the central government's name when fighting the Opposition in the state".