Bengaluru: With the Election Commission (EC) announcing the date for by-poll in Karnataka (October 21) the fate of the fifteen disqualified Congress and JD(S) MLAs hangs in the balance. 

The supreme court will take up hearing of the disqualification case on Monday (September 23) and it is anybody’s guess the arguments on both sides will take a long time to conclude. 

Till the supreme court gives a verdict on the issue, the order of the Speaker on disqualification holds good. So on Monday, when the top court hears the case, the disqualified MLAs may pray before it to set aside the order of the Speaker. If that is not a viable option for the top court, the disqualified MLAs can also prevail upon the court to at least nullify that part of the Speaker’s order which forbids them from contesting the by-poll till the expiry of the current assembly (2023). 

If the court upholds their prayers, the disqualified members can contest the elections. 

There is another pertinent point to note. 

Shivanand, a political analyst said, “If you take the example of what happened in Tamil Nadu politics, the high court upheld the disqualification of several AIADMK MLAs. But they contested the by-poll and some of them won. Keeping that in mind, these disqualified MLAs can also contest.”   

Now, in the event of JD(S)-Congress candidates winning all the 15 seats, what will the situation be? 

Let’s take a look at the numbers: 

Strength of the Karnataka assembly – 223

BJP (as of now) – 106

Opposition - (JD(S) and Congress) – 101

Magic number (full house) – 112

Required seats for BJP to stay in power – 6

Required seats for JDS-Congress combine to form govt – 11


Even if the JD(S) and the Congress who are contesting independently win all the 15 seats, they should again form a coalition and stake claim to form government. That is highly unlikely. 
In that case, as the BJP falls short, the Congress and JD(S) may seek dissolution of the government.