Karnataka chief minister sure of winning Thursday’s bypoll

December 21st, 2011 - 11:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Dec 21 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is locked in a straight fight with the Congress nominee in Thursday’s bypoll to the legislative council which he has to win to remain in the post.

Gowda is a Lok Sabha member at present. He took over as chief minister Aug 4 from B.S. Yeddyurappa, who quit July 31 over corruption charges.

Gowda has to become a member of the assembly or the legislative council within six months of assuming chief minister’s office as required by the constitution.

Only assembly members can vote Thursday.

The assembly has 225 members, including a nominated member. The BJP has 120 members including the speaker, Congress 71, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 26 and seven independents, one of whom is a minister in the Gowda cabinet.

Though BJP has clear majority in the assembly, it is concerned over possible cross- voting by its members in view of the deep divisions in the state unit. It has issued a whip to its members and is confident that all will vote for Gowda.

“There is no fear of cross-voting. We are united and Gowda will comfortably win,” state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa told reporters Wednesday.

The Congress too is not free from such a worry as there are persistent reports that a section of the legislators are planning to join the Nationalist Congress Party led by union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

It also has issued a whip to its members to vote for the party candidate Anand Gaddadevaramath.

State Congress chief G. Parameshwara told reporters that “talk of cross-voting by our members is baseless speculation”.

The JD-S is keeping the BJP and the Congress guessing on whom its legislators will support. It is being wooed by both the Congress and the BJP.

Of the six independents, five met Gowda in Bangalore Wednesday and later told reporters they will vote for the chief minister.

The other independent member is mining barons Reddy brothers’ associate and former BJP minister B. Sriramulu.

Though he had claimed that 22 BJP assembly members support him and his aim was to defeat Gowda, Sriramulu has changed tune and has been saying he will not do anything to destabilise the Gowda government.

Of the three Reddy brothers, Gali Janardhana is in Hyderabad jail since Sep 5 in connection with an illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.

While Janardhana is member of the legislative council, his two brothers, Gali Karunakara and Gali Somashekara, are assembly members.

Both are expected to vote for Gowda as defying the whip will lead to losing the assembly membership.

The secret balloting starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Counting will start at 5 p.m.

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