BJP Heads to Victory; Congress Says 'People Accepted Defectors'

Clay Curtis
December 9, 2019

The BJP and the opposition Congress contested in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the JD (S) in 12 seats. In Chikkaballapur and Yellapur, BJP candidates established comfortable leads of over 8,000 votes. Independent candidate Sharath Kumar Bachegowda left behind BJP's MTB Nagaraj by a margin of 3,879 votes. The trends were based on the counting of postal ballots, which is set to conclude before 9 am. The counting began at 8 am, poll officials said.

The BJP government, headed by B S Yediyurappa, needs to win at least six seats to retain its majority in the house as the party now has 105 MLAs including an independent MLA in the Assembly.

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. Twelve of the 15 seats were held by the Congress and three by JD (S).

Speaking to reporters, a day before counting CM Yediyurappa had stated that his party would win at least 13 seats.

The seat is among 17 that fell vacant after rebel MLAs from the Congress and JD (S) parties defected to the BJP in a bid to bring down the coalition government.

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The BJP needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in a majority in the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats - Maski and R R Nagar, where byelections are yet to be declared owing to election-related petitions pending in court. The BJP would only be able to keep the numbers in its favour if it is able to get at least six of the 15 seats now under grab. Besides, there is one BSP member, a nominated MLA and the Speaker. Including the Chief Minister, now there are 18 ministers in the cabinet, whose sanctioned strength is 34.

All arrangements, including security, have been made for the counting of votes.

Police have also imposed prohibitory orders and clamped down on activities that could disturb law and order.

While the BJP on record claims it will win all the seats, the party's estimate keeps it anything above 10. "We will complete our term". The party leadership, including former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy, has been changing its stance from unilaterally announcing support to the BJP government to hoping for renewal of ties with the Congress.

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