Bengaluru: The Congress welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on 17 disqualified Karnataka MLAs and termed the BJP-led government in Karnataka as 'illegal'.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the verdict has burst the bubble of BJP's 'Operation Kamal'. Surjewala demanded the Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka should now be dismissed for "brazenly and illegally" bringing down the Congress-Janata Dal(S) alliance government in the state.
"The SC's decision upholding the disqualification of "defector MLAs" has burst the bubble of BJP's 'Operation Kamal'. It's now proved that BJP brazenly and illegally brought down an elected JD(S)-Congress govt in Karnataka. Yedurappa govt is an illegitimate govt & should be dismissed," Surjewala said in his tweet.
The grand old party's Karnataka faction also termed the government as illegal and sought its dismissal.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs by the then Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar but allowed them to contest the December five bypolls in the state.
It struck down the portion of the order of then Speaker by which the legislators were disqualified till the end of the 15th Karnataka Assembly in 2023.
While KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao asked BJP not to give tickets to the disqualified legislators to contest polls if it has "any morality left," CLP leader Siddaramaiah said the verdict was a lesson to defectors to whom people would teach a lesson in the December 5 bypolls.
"Supreme Court has partially upheld the then Speaker Ramesh Kumar's decision. I welcome the verdict," Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, the court's stand was that defecting was "immoral" and "violation of trust of the voter".
"The judgment is a lesson to MLAs, who wanted to resign and join other party according to human fancy or by the influence of other parties- it is not correct is what court has said," he added.
Observing that he welcomes the court judgement in its entirety that includes allowing disqualified to contest polls, Siddaramaiah said people would have to understand that they have been disqualified as they indulged in defection, and the court has not accepted it.
"It is a lesson to those who want to cross over to other parties. Court has not accepted it, people will also not accept it and see to that they are defeated in the bypolls, as it happened in Maharashtra and Gujarat," he added.
Responding to a query on filing an appeal against the verdict, Siddaramaiah said, the party would decide on the appeal, but "according to my opinion there was no need for it".
Reacting to the SC ruling, KPCC President Rao said, the court verdict proves that the BJP government in the state was "illegal".
"Supreme Court has upheld the disqualification of all the 17 MLA's who defected from @INCIndia & JDS. It also proves that the Karnataka BJP govt is an illegal govt.
@BJP4India had used unconstitutional means to fabricate a majority. It should be immediately dismissed," Rao tweeted.
"I welcome the #SupremeCourt verdict. The hand of BJP in toppling the coalition govt is now clear. The involvement of @BSYBJP & @AmitShah is now proved. If BJP has any morality left, they should not give tickets to these disqualified MLA's to contest," he said in another tweet.
"On the one hand upholding the disqualification and on the other, allowing them to contest the election...," he told reporters.
"Without giving power to the anti-defection law, we pat our back saying that we have introduced the law. What is there in the anti-defection law? To prohibit them (public representatives) from arbitrary acts of resigningwhenever they want and can be easily influenced," Kumaraswamy said.
"The way you are encouraging, your decision has no meaning," Kumaraswamy said.
"If at all the democracy of the country has to survive, some degree of discipline should be displayed. There is no meaning if the anti-defection law is not respected," he said.
Among the disqualified MLAs, 14 were from Congress and three were from JD(S).
However, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD seemed unimpressed with the verdict and said it "has no meaning".