Bengaluru: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka has managed to get a simple majority by winning 12 of the 15 seats which went to by-elections. Congress was able to win in two, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) drew a blank while a BJP rebel won as an Independent candidate.
At present, BJP has 105 legislators in the assembly and enjoys the support of one independent MLA, taking its strength to 106. This election was crucial for BJP, which needed to win at least six seats to ensure simple majority in legislative Assembly.
With this victory in by-elections, Karnataka Chief minister Yediyurappa is set to consolidate his power. He is prepared to complete three-and-a-half-years of his term. In this by-elections, BJP has made in-roads in Vokkaliga (land holding community) stronghold districts of Mandya and Chikkaballapura. In other constituencies, the party, which was struggling against the Congress all these years, has won this time.
What was surprising is that the JDS, despite having a strong base in the Old Mysore region, drew a blank except putting-up a tough battle in Yeshwantpur and supporting the Independent in Hoskote.
The By-elections was necessitated following the resignation of 17 MLAs (14 from Congress and three from JDS) to join the BJP. In 13 of the 15 seats, the BJP fielded Congress-JDS turncoats.
Siddaramaiah, Gundu Rao quit
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and Congress' Karnataka chief Dinesh Gundu Rao quit their posts after their party put up a poor show in the Assembly by-elections, throwing the state unit into a turmoil. Minutes after the results of the bypolls were known, they tendered their resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi owning moral responsibility for not being able to give "satisfactory results." In a huge setback, the Congress could win only two out of 15 seats whereas it had previously held 12 of them.
'Beyond considerations of caste'
Elated Chief Minsiter B S Yediyurappa's son BY Vijayendra said that the party's performance is a clear indication of the will of the people of the region who have gone "beyond considerations of caste" and supported the BJP. Senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar said the party accepted the will of the people. "It is sad that the people have expressed their support for defections. This means defections can happen from any party to any party in future, not just to BJP. People have said that is not an issue for them.”