The ruling BJP on Monday swept the Karnataka Assembly bypolls by bagging 12 of the 15 seats where byelections were held on December 5, The Opposition Congress, which held 12 of them in 2018 Assembly polls, reduced to just two and the remaining seat was won by BJP rebel and independent candidate Sharath Bache Gowda. The BJP needed just six seats to secure the majority. Following the humiliating defeat, top Congress leaders – Legislative Party leader Siddaramaiah and state president Dinesh Gundu Rao – resigned from their respective posts, leaving the party in indeterminate state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a poll meeting in Jharkhand, hailed the BJP’s performance and accused the Congress of stealing the people’s mandate in Karnataka through the back door, contending it has been taught a lesson in the just-concluded bypolls. The Congress, which won 12 of those 15 seats in the 2018 assembly polls, won just two seats - Hunsur and Shivajinagar, while its former ally the JD(S) lost all seats it contested. Independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, who was earlier expelled from BJP for anti-party activities after he contested the bypoll as a rebel, was won from Hoskote.
The Karnataka bypoll results has consolidated Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s position and boosted his stock within the state BJP along with providing the much-needed stability to the government led by him. On the other hand, the results have put Congress in a tight posititon with two of its top leaders resigning from their respective posts.
The bypolls were held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the 14-month-old HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power. The BJP needed 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 RR Nagar.