The development comes hours after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa confirmed that the disqualified MLAs would be given tickets to contest the upcoming December 5 bypolls.

BJP on Thursday nominated 13 disqualified Congress and JD(S) MLAs as its candidates for the December 5 Assembly bypolls in Karnataka. All the 13 disqualified MLAs have been repeated from their respective seats. Candidates for the remaining two Assembly seats — Shivajinagar and Ranebennur — where bypolls will be held are yet to be announced.

The development comes hours after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa confirmed that the disqualified MLAs would be given tickets to contest the upcoming December 5 bypolls. Speaking at a grand event in Bengaluru’s Malleswaram, where the leaders officially joined the BJP, Yediyurappa said the party would keep its promise of fielding them from the 15 vacant seats.

Yediyurappa’s comments came a day after the Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs, but allowed them to contest the bypolls.

Barring Roshan Baig, 16 leaders were inducted into the party in the presence of Yediyurappa, state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel and National General Secretary in charge of Karnataka, P Muralidhar Rao. Hundreds of their supporters too were present.

“Because of these MLAs, I have become the chief minister. They sacrificed everything to ensure that the BJP comes to power in Karnataka. After the Supreme Court’s verdict, they are joining the BJP today. We will keep the promise made to them and they will be candidates for the upcoming by-elections,” said Yediyurappa.

“I request all BJP leaders and party workers to support these MLA’s and help them win the upcoming by-poll. They are the future MLAs and ministers of Karnataka,” he added.

Welcoming the leaders to the party fold, P Muralidhar Rao said Karnataka is a very important state for the BJP’s expansion in the south.

The BJP needs to win six of the 15 bye-elections to remain in power. Elections to two seats — Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Maski — have been withheld as separate cases with regard to them are pending before the Karnataka High Court.

The MLAs who joined the BJP were Ramesh Jarkiholi, H Vishwanath, Mahesh Kumathahalli, Shrimant Patil, Pratapgouda Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, BC Patil, Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, Byrathi Basavaraj, S T Somasekhar, N Munirathna, K Gopalaiah, KC Narayana Gowda, and R Shankar.

MTB Nagaraj was not present at the event but has joined the party as well. Baig, a disqualified Congress legislator from Shivajinagar was not inducted into the party.

READ: Karnataka bypolls: List of constituencies, disqualified MLAs – all you need to know

After joining the BJP, former JD(S) president and former MLA from Hunsur A H Vishwanath said, “We are happy to join the BJP party. We didn’t join the BJP for power, we all had to quit the coalition government to rid Karnataka of evil politics.”

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