Bengaluru: The ruling BJP in Karnataka on Wednesday asked a party rebel to withdraw his candidature in the December 5 Assembly by-elections to 15 constituencies as it expressed confidence of a clean sweep, citing internal reports.

After a meeting of party election in-charges of all the 15 constituencies, BJP bypolls convener and party general secretary Arvind Limbavali said minor confusions that existed have been resolved with respect to Hoskote constituency where party member Sharath Bachegowda had filed his nomination as an independent candidate. 

He said Bachegowda has been instructed by the state party president Nalin Kumar Kateel to withdraw his nomination by today, the last day for the process. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa and Kateel also attended the election in-charges meeting, where their reports and analysis were discussed. 

Reports presented by election in-charges at the meeting show that the BJP is in a position to win all the 15 seats in the bypolls, Limbavali said.

Responding to a question of what action will be taken against the rebel candidate if he did not withdraw, Limbavali said the state president along with others will decide on the next course of action. After the BJP gave the Hoskote ticket to disqualified Congress MLA MTB Nagaraj, Bache Gowda has jumped into the fray as an independent. 

Son of BJP MP from Chikkaballapura BN Bachegowda, had remained adamant so far on contesting the bypolls despite repeated attempts by the party leadership to pacify him. Yediyurappa had earlier said the party has even decided to expel him.

BJP candidate from Vijayanagara constituency Anand Singh, another disqualified MLA, too is facing trouble with party member KR Kaviraju filing papers as an independent candidate. However, the party made no reference to him on Wednesday. 

While winning majority seats is crucial for the government's survival, BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies. Among the 15 constituencies going to bypolls, as many as 12 were held by Congress and JD(S), whose coalition government toppled due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs. 

With Inputs from PTI