JD-S defector to BJP among 5 nominated as Karnataka MLC

Bengaluru, July 23 (IANS) Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala has nominated five persons, including Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) defector to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) A.H. Vishwanath, as members of the state legislative council, an official said here on Wednesday.

“In exercise of the powers vested in me under Article 171 of the Constitution, I nominate A.H. Vishwanath, C.P. Yogeshwar, Shantharama Budna Siddi, Talwar Sabanna and Bharathi Shetty as members of the Karnataka Legislative Council,” the Governor said in a communique.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa called on Vala at the Raj Bhavan and submitted a letter recommending the names for nominating them as MLCs.

Though Vishwanath lost the December 5 by-elections from the Hunsur Assembly seat in Mysuru district, the BJP leadership didn't allow him to contest in the biennial elections to the council held in June.

Vishwanath was among the three JD-S rebel legislators who resigned along with 14 Congress rebel legislators from their Assembly seats in July 2019, leading to the fall of the 14-month-old JD-S-Congress coalition government on July 23, 2019 after its Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy lost the confidence vote in the lower house on the same day.

Yogeshwar, a three-time former lawmaker, lost to Kumaraswamy in the May 2018 state Assembly elections from the Channapatna constituency in Ramanagara district.

Yogeshwar was also a minister in the first BJP government in the southern state (2008-13).

Bharathi is the BJP women's wing president and Sabanna is an academician while Siddi is a social activist.

Vishwanath was also a minister in the S.M. Krishna-led Congress government (1999-2004). Later, he joined JD-S following differences with former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Vishwanath and Yogeshwar are reportedly in the race for a cabinet post in the year-old Yediyurappa government along with newly-elected MLC M.T.B. Nagaraj, who too defected from the Congress to the BJP, but lost in the December 5 by-poll from Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district to Independent candidate Sharath Bache Gowda, son of BJP Lok Sabha member from Chikkaballapur, B.N. Bache Gowda.

Though Yediyurappa has inducted 10 of the 12 defectors from the Congress and JD-S as cabinet ministers on February 6 after they got re-elected in the December 5 Assembly by-elections, six posts are still vacant in the 34-member ministry.

R. Shankar, another Congress defector to the BJP who was elected as MLC in June, is also a ministerial aspirant.

BJP's rebel legislators Umesh Khatti and Murgesh Nirani have also been vying for cabinet posts since the party returned to power nearly a year ago for the third time.



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