Party to form committee to identify the MLAs
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka suffered a major embarrassment on Sunday as it turned out that 16 of its MLAs had cross-voted in the Presidential polls resulting in Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee getting more votes than the National Democratic Alliance candidate, P.A. Sangma, in the State legislature electorate.
Mr. Mukherjee got the support of 117 MLAs, while Mr. Sangma got the support of only 103 MLAs as against the BJP’s strength of 119. The votes of three MLAs from Karnataka were invalid.
This has again brought to the fore dissidence within the ruling party and also its factional politics. This is the second time in a little over a month that the party is witnessing large-scale cross-voting. Earlier, 12 of the party MLAs had indulged in cross-voting in the elections to the Legislative Council held from the Assembly constituency on June 12. The party, however, did not act against them, except for declaring that they would not get ticket in the next Assembly polls.
However, the present episode has upset party leaders in the State and the national level who are learnt to have decided to form a committee to identify the cross-voters. According to sources, the committee was likely to be formed either on Monday or Tuesday in consultation with national-level leaders.
“We have identified three MLAs who have indulged in cross-voting as they [the former Minister B. Sriramulu’s associates] have publicly said that they have supported the Congress. We will try to identify the other cross-voters too. Unlike on the previous occasion, this time we have decided to issue notices to them,” the sources said.
It appears that as of now the party may quickly initiate action against a few MLAs, especially the three associates of Mr. Sriramulu (against whom it has some kind of evidence), as an image-saving exercise.
The BJP sources noted that the party was upset with its image getting sullied through such episodes. “There is a thinking that we must be stern while dealing with cross-voters and should not be bothered about the government’s survival as there is no point in tolerating such indiscipline for the sake of the government’s survival,” the sources said.
They also made it clear that the party had commenced its ground-level preparations for the Assembly polls next year. However, they said, it was ready to go to the polls any time if the need arose.
In this context, it remains to be seen if the cross-voting episode would give a new twist to the poll plans of the party, which is now thinking of opting for polls in December.
The party is also learnt to have decided not to give party ticket to the cross-voters in the next Assembly polls.
Panel may be formed by Monday or Tuesday in consultation with national-level leaders Three of former Minister B. Sriramulu’s associates identified as cross-voters
Panel may be formed by Monday or Tuesday in consultation with national-level leaders
Three of former Minister B. Sriramulu’s associates identified as cross-voters