Bengaluru: With Election Commission announcing Assembly bye-elections in Karnataka, Congress may face a tough time from its own rebel MLAs, who were disqualified during the political crisis last month, and may contest the bye polls.

The bye-elections in Karnataka will be held on October 21 in 15 constituencies that were vacated by rebel MLAs of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular). The counting of votes will take place in the same week on October 24.

Rebel sources said the disqualified MLAs would contest the by-elections in a tacit understanding with the BJP which could pose problems for the Congress.

Former Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs including 13 from the Congress, 3 from the JD(S), and an Independent. Prominent among the Congress MLAs who were disqualified were M T B Nagaraj, K. Sudhakar, Munirathna, Shrimant Patil, Byrathi Basavaraj and others.

On the other hand, Supreme Court on September 12 refused to pass an order on a plea to list a batch of petitions filed by 17 disqualified MLAs challenging their disqualification from the Karnataka Legislative Assembly by Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law rejecting their resignation and disqualifying them from the Assembly.

The leaders were disqualified by the Speaker, stating that they have "incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) and the disqualification would last till the end of the term of the Assembly May 23, 2023."
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