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Fate of Karnataka’s 13 disqualified legislators sealed in EVMs

Results of the bypolls to 15 seats to be declared on Monday

ET Bureau|
Dec 06, 2019, 11.16 AM IST
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BENGALURU: The electoral fate of 13 disqualified legislators, who were instrumental in pulling down the previous Janata Dal (S)-Congress government and installing the BJP regime in Karnataka, was sealed in EVMs on Thursday.

The results of the bypolls to 15 seats, including these 13 where former JD(S) and Congress MLAs contested on BJP tickets, will be out on Monday, December 9. The outcome is critical for the survival of chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s four-month-old BJP government, which is facing the threat of losing power if the party fails to win at least seven seats. Polling was peaceful except for some minor incidents.

In the 15 seats, 66.25% of the electorate cast their votes. Barring the four assembly segments of Bengaluru city, voters turned out in good number in the crucial by-elections. Four constituencies in the old Mysore region — Chikkaballapur, Hosakote, KR Pet and Hunasuru — recorded polling percentages between 80% and 86%.

Chikkaballapur topped in polling turnout the state at 86.19%, while Shivajinagar in Bengaluru recorded the lowest turnout at 44.60%. In the state’s capital city, Yeshwanthpur recorded the highest polling at 54%. Except for Gokak in Belagavi district, all other constituencies experienced lower voting percentage compared with the 2018 assembly elections.

Poll Campaign Saw Bitter Battle between BJP, Congress, JD(S)

In Gokak, the percentage increased to 73.08% from 71.85%. Insiders in political parties said they were expecting a poor turnout as they thought people might see it as an event thrust on them in less than two years of the Assembly polls.

In the 222-member Karnataka assembly, the BJP has to maintain a majority mark of 112 if it has to retain power. The number of seats with the BJP at present is 105.

The bypoll is also significant to Congress leader Siddaramaiah, as winning more number of seats and destabilising the BJP government would reiterate his leadership in the party. The JD(S), on the other hand, has been giving mixed signals of backing either the BJP or the Congress based on the poll outcome.

The poll campaign saw a bitter battle between the BJP and the former allies — Congress and the JD(S) — as the latter attacked the ruling party for engineering a defection in their parties, leading to the fall of the coalition government. Throughout the campaign, the BJP justified the action, maintaining that the defectors were unhappy with the coalition as their constituencies were neglected.

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