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BJP suffers setback as two MLAs cross-vote for Congress in Karnataka Rajya Sabha elections

Somashekar and Hebbar, who are upset with the BJP, were seen getting closer with the Congress in recent months

PTI Bengaluru Published 27.02.24, 06:39 PM
BJP MLA ST Somashekar

BJP MLA ST Somashekar X/@veeyeskay

In a setback to the BJP-JD(S) alliance, saffron party MLA S T Somashekar voted for Congress candidate Ajay Maken while another MLA Arbail Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting in the Rajya Sabha elections for four seats in Karnataka on Tuesday.

Somashekar and Hebbar, who are upset with the BJP, were seen getting closer with the Congress in recent months.


Somashekar represents Yashwantpur assembly constituency and Hebbar from Yellapur segment.

"We have got the information that Somashekar has done cross-voting. I believe that people do not like cheating every now and then," the Leader of Opposition R Ashoka told reporters here.

"I consulted with advocate Vivek Reddy who is our state legal cell president and a high court lawyer. We will ask the Speaker to initiate action against him (Somashekar) and explore the possibilities to take steps in accordance with the law," the former deputy chief minister said.

Somashekar had quit the Congress and joined the BJP. He served as the minister (in the BJP government) and was made the Mysuru district in charge.

Ashoka termed Somashekar's decision as "political suicide".

Soon after voting, Somashekar told reporters that he voted as per his conscience.

"I went by my conscience and voted for those who worked for building schools and carry out development works in my constituency," the rebel BJP leader said.

Ashoka said Hebbar was in touch with him since morning and assured him that he would vote for the BJP candidate.

"Hebbar had been telling me that he would not betray the party, but I don’t know why he did not turn up to vote. He double-crossed us today, which he should not have done. We will initiate action against him," Ashoka said.

Both the MLAs had defected from Congress to the BJP along with 15 others, bringing down the 14-month-old coalition government of the Congress and the JD(S) in 2019 facilitating the installation of the BJP government.

In 2023, they once again got elected to the assembly on the BJP ticket.

The BJP and JD(S) workers staged a demonstration in Bengaluru against Somashekar. Raising slogans, they burnt his effigy.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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