Karnataka BJP asks EC to postpone Ramanagara bye-poll after its candidate backs out
The BJP in Karnataka, which was stumped on Thursday by the withdrawal of its candidate in the Ramanagara Assembly bye-poll just two days ahead of the election, has now sought the polling to be postponed in the seat. To this effect, its leader Chi Na Ramu, the party’s National General Secretary of SC Morcha, wrote to the Election Commission of India. The party also sought action against its candidate L Chandrashekar, son of Congress MLC CM Lingappa.
However, a top state Election Commission officer told TNM it is highly unlikely that the poll would be countermanded.
“We have not received any instructions from ECI. I don’t think there is a chance of elections being countermanded. The withdrawal from polls by a candidate after the notified date of withdrawal (October 20) is unofficial. His (Chandrashekar’s) name and symbols will be in the EVMs. His party had supported till the last day of withdrawal of candidature and that is why his name is already in the ballot,” the officer told TNM.
Other than Ramanagara, bye-polls will be held at Assembly segment of Jamakhandi and three Lok Sabha segments – Shimoga, Ballari and Mandya on Saturday as a precursor of sorts to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The results will be declared on November 6. The Congress-JD(S) have decided to put up a united front against the BJP after forming a post-poll alliance in May.
On Thursday, in a major embarrassment for the opposition party in the state, Chandrashekar retired from the elections in an unprecedented move and announced that he is rejoining the Congress. “I take back my nomination and I support Congress-JDS candidate Anita Kumaraswamy,” Chandrashekar stated in a letter. He said the “disinterest” shown by BJP’s state president BS Yeddyurappa for campaigning in the constituency forced him to quit.
The bye-poll in this seat was necessitated as Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy won both the seats of Ramanagara and Channapatna in the May state polls, but chose to vacate this seat. Chandrashekar was the BJP’s choice against JD(S)’s Anitha Kumaraswamy, the wife of the CM. The Congress has decided to lend support to the JD(S) as part of the continuing alliance since the Assembly elections.
Incidentally, CM HD Kumaraswamy has won for the fourth straight time from Ramanagara since 2004. According to poll analysts, with the Congress and JD(S) joining hands, it was realistically impossible for the BJP to manage a victory despite the rivalry between the grassroot workers of the JD(S) and Congress.