Karnataka's 12 BJP members take oath as MLAs
A dozen ruling BJP's newly-elected members and an Independent MLA took oath as legislators in the banquet hall of the state secretariat (Vidhan Soudha), an official said on Sunday.
"Assembly Speaker V.H. Kageri administered the oath to all the 12 BJP members and an Independent who were elected to the lower house in the December 5 by-elections from their constituencies," BJP's state unit G. Madhusudana told IANS here.
Of the 15 newly-elected members, whose results were declared on December 9, two Congress legislators - Rizwan Arshad from Shivajinagar in Bengaluru Central and H.P. Manjunath from Hunasuru in Mysuru district, did not take oath as they skipped the function.
The BJP lawmakers are K. Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), S.B. Patill (Kagwad), B.A. Basavaraja (K R Pura in Bengaluru east), Mahesh Kumatalli (Athani), S.T. Somashekar (Yesvanthpur in Bengaluru north), A.H. Shivaram (Yellapur), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), G. Arunkumar (Ranibennur), B.C. Patil (Hirekruru), Narayana Gowda (K.R. Pete), Anand Singh (Vijayapura) and K. Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout in Bengaluru west).
Independent Sharath Kumar Bachegowda won from Hosakote in Bengaluru Rural district, defeating BJP's M.T.B. Nagaraj, who defected from the Congress.
Nagaraj was also the richest candidate in the by-polls, as he declared a whopping Rs 1,230-crore worth assets in his poll affidavit. He was the housing minister in the 14-month JD-S-Congress coalition government.
The BJP and opposition Congress contested in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the regional party Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) did in 12 but drew a blank.
Barring Narayana Gowda and Gopalaiah, who defected from the JD-S, 9 of the 10 legislators defected from the Congress. Arunkumar is a BJP member.
The bye-elections were necessitated due to the disqualification of the 14 Congress and 3 JD-S rebel legislators after they resigned from their assembly seats in mid-July in protest against the former coalition government's poor functioning.
By-elections to two assembly seats to Muski in Raichur district and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru southwest) have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 assembly elections.
Victory in 12 of the 15 Assembly seats increased the ruling party's strength to 117 from 105, including the Speaker in the 223-member House, with one as an Independent.
With 112 members as the halfway mark for simple majority, the BJP government will be able to continue in the southern state for over 3 years till the 5-year term of the present Assembly lapses in May 2023.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, state home minister Basavaraj Bommai and state education minister Suresh Kumar were among the party leaders who were present on the occasion./Eom/430 words.IANS