Bengaluru/Belagavi: As the date for Supreme Court’s verdict on disqualified MLAs nears, the BJP and the opposition parties are awaiting the verdict.

Former Kagwad MLA Raju Kage is certain of jumping ship to the Congress, but now speculations are rife that another BJP leader might soon be following in his footsteps. BJP leader Ashok Ningayyaswami Pujari is awaiting confirmation from the Congress unit. This development has come in after reports surfaced stating that disqualified MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi being given a ticket from Gokak once the Supreme Court’s verdict is out.

Now, Ashok Pujari is lobbying for a Congress ticket to contest from Gokak constituency and has now rushed to meet senior Congress leaders. Ashok met former minister DK Shivakumar on Sunday (Nov 10) and today (Nov 11) he met leader of opposition Siddaramaiah and requested for a ticket.

However, Congress has decided to field Lakhan Jarkiholi against his brother Ramesh Jarkiholi in Gokak. In case, Ashok Pujari misses out on a Congress ticket, reports state that he might contest bypolls independently.

During Assembly elections in 2018, Ashok Pujari gave a tough fight to disqualified MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi. Ashok lost to Ramesh by marginal votes. Ramesh outnumber Ashok by gaining 90,249 votes whereas Ashok gained 75,969 votes during the Assembly elections.   

The by-elections have been necessitated due to the disqualification of 14 Congress and 3 JD(S) rebel legislators after they resigned from their respective Assembly seats in July in protest against the former coalition government's functioning.

Karnataka Assembly bypoll dates were announced on Sunday (Nov 10) by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Karnataka Sanjeev Kumar. A total of 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka are going to polls on December 5. The counting of the votes has been scheduled for December 9.

Though the fate of disqualified MLAs is uncertain and their future hangs in thin air, internal rift with the parties is yet to settle down. All eyes are the Supreme Court’s verdict on the disqualified MLAs on November 13.