‘Anyone can judge EC is puppet of govt’: HD Kumaraswamy on poll panel’s decision to defer by-polls to 15 seats in Karnataka

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New Delhi | Published: September 26, 2019 9:49:01 PM

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy trained his guns at the Election Commission for its decision to defer by-polls to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka and accused the poll panel of acting as a puppet of the government.

EC, govt puppet, HD Kumaraswamy, karnataka by-polls, Karnataka, YediyurappaThe absence and then resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July (File)

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday trained his guns at the Election Commission (EC) for its decision to defer by-polls to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka and said that it is the first time that a constitutional authority has taken such a decision. He also accused the poll panel of acting as a puppet of the government.

Among the 15 constituencies going to the polls, 12 were represented by Congress and 3 by JD(S).

“In Indian political history, it’s the first time such a decision has been given by a constitutional authority. Anyone can judge EC is puppet of the government,” news agency ANI quoted former Karnataka CM as saying.

The Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it would defer the upcoming by-polls to 15 Assembly segments in Karnataka till the apex court finally decides the pleas filed by 17 disqualified MLAs of the state challenging their disqualification. The EC’s decision came a week after it announced the schedule of by-polls to 15 Karnataka Assembly seats. The by-polls were to be held on October 21 and counting of votes on October 24.

Read | Karnataka: Election Commission to defer by-polls in 15 seats

All the 17 disqualified MLAs have challenged the decision of former assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to disqualify them in the SC.

The poll panel’s decision kicked the political storm in the southern state. While the disqualified MLAs termed it as a “relief”, the BJP called it as “first victory” to disqualified MLAs who had sought a stay on the by-polls. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said, “It is relief to the disqualified MLAs who were anxious. What next is left to them. Today’s SC decision is historical, I welcome it along with others.”

On the other hand, Congress and JD(S) raised questions on the poll body’s conduct. Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted that it looked as if the EC was taking instructions from someone. “The election has been notified and filing of nomination has also begun, why are they now saying that they will postpone the by-elections. It looks like they are taking instructions from someone else,” he tweeted.

Earlier this year, the absence and subsequent resignations of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government and helped BJP come to power. The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified these MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

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