New Delhi: The counting of votes in the crucial byelections to 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka kickstarted on Monday (December 9) and the result will decide the fate of four-month-old BS Yeddyurappa government in the state as ruling BJP is short of a majority in the 224-member house.
Election Commission official G Jadiyappa told IANS that arrangements have been made for counting of votes in the 15 Assembly segments on Monday at 11 centres, including three in Bengaluru for four urban seats. Postal ballots will be counted first, followed by counting of votes in EVMs.
"Though trends will be available from 9-10 a.m., a clear picture of the votes polled will emerge post-noon and results will be declared after completing 20 rounds of vote count in each constituency," said Jadiyappa.
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By-elections were held in 15 constituencies on December 5 in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chikkaballapura, K.R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K.R. Pete and Hunsur Assembly seats.
BJP, which currently has 105 MLAs in the House, needs to win at least seven seats to retain its majority in the Assembly. The ruling party has the support of an Independent MLA too. On the other hand, the Congress is confident of a better show and it is quite possible that the party would stitch an alliance with the JD-S again to keep BJP out of power.
Before Yeddyurappa took oath as the 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. It is to be noted that two seats are still under litigation in Karnataka High Court.
BJP leaders are hoping to win more than six seats and local exit polls predicted that the BJP will easily win more than six seats. BJP gave ticket to all the rebel Congress and JD-S MPs who had resigned to play an important role in toppling the JD-S-Congress government in the state.