The results of the bye-polls to 15 Assembly seats in Karnataka will be declared on Monday. Voting was held on December 5. Counting of votes began at 8 am, reported NDTV. Heavy security has been deployed across the state.
The bye-elections are crucial to the survival of the Bharatiya Janata Party government. The BS Yediyurappa-led government has a narrow lead at present, and needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to retain majority.
“We will win with a lead of 25,000-30,000 votes in most of the constituencies and according to our estimate, we are confident of winning all 15 seats,” Yediyurappa had told reporters on Saturday, according to the Hindustan Times. Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwathnarayan also said that the saffron party would win a maximum number of seats.
The current strength of the Assembly is 208, with the BJP having the support of 106 MLAs, including one independent legislator. The Congress has 66 MLAs and the Janata Dal (Secular) has 34 legislators.
The bye-polls were necessitated to fill 15 of the 17 vacancies created by the mass resignations of rebel Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs in July. Elections to two constituencies – Muski in Raichur district, and RR Nagar in Bengaluru – are not being held because of ongoing cases in the Karnataka High Court challenging the results in the May 2018 elections.
Twelve of the 15 constituencies were earlier held by the Congress and three by the Janata Dal (Secular). The former allies – Congress and JDS – contested separately this time.
The BJP fielded 13 of the disqualified MLAs from the seats they had won in 2018. These former legislators had joined the BJP on November 14, a day after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the bye-elections. R Roshan Baig, who was earlier in the Congress, was the only one who did not move to the ruling party.