BENGALURU: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on course to win a simple majority in the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, as the party succeeded in winning two seats and grabbing comfortable lead in 10 other seats out of the 15 for which the by-election was held on December 5.
With 104 MLAs excluding the Speaker and the support of an Independent, the BJP currently enjoys the support of 105 MLAs in Karnataka Assembly, including one nominated from the Anglo-Indian community with voting rights.
It is expected that after the end of Monday's counting, BJP's strength is set to go up to 116, excluding the Speaker and 117 with the Independent, which is 5 more than the magic mark of 112. It is to be noted that Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Maski did not go to polls as election petitions challenging results of the 2018 election for these seats are in Karnataka High Court.
Earlier on Monday (December 9), senior Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar accepted defeat and said that the party will have to accept the mandate of the voters. He added that people have accepted the defectors.
“We have to agree with the mandate of the voters of these 15 constituencies. People have accepted the defectors. We have accepted defeat, I don't think we have to be disheartened,” Shivakumar said.
Before Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister, the Congress-JD-S alliance government led by former CM HD Kumaraswamy fell after the resignation of 14 Congress and three JD-S MLAs. All the rebel MLAS were disqualified by the previous Speaker and the bypolls were held on December 5.
Over 38 lakh voters, including 19.25 lakh males and 18.52 lakh females, exercised their franchise in these 15 seats. A total of candidates, including 126 independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly segments
The BJP and Congress contested in all the 15 assembly seats, while the JD-S fielded its candidates in 12 seats. There will be a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress at Athani in Belagavi district, Yellapura in Uttara Kannada district and Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district.