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Congress defeats BJP and allies in Karnataka bypolls

Bangalore The ruling Congress today defeated the BJP-KJP-JD-S combine in bypolls to two legislative council seats held on August 22. Only members of the local governing councils were eligible to vote.

The Congress won in Mysore, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's home district, and Dharwad, the home town of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Dharwad is about 430 km north of Bangalore.

However, in Chitradurga, about 200 km north of Bangalore, an independent won over his Congress and BJP rivals.

Paper ballots were used for the bypolls as voters numbered less than 10,000 in each seat. They were counted today in Mysore, Dharwad and Chitradurga.

The BJP, Janata Dal-Secular and the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) led by former BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa tied up for the election hoping to defeat the Congress, particularly in Mysore and Dharwad.

While the JD-S did not field any candidate, the BJP was in the fray for Dharwad and Chitradurga seats and left Mysore for KJP.

All three seats were held by the BJP. The bypolls were ordered as its members quit the council for various reasons.

The Congress victory in Dharwad is a big setback to Shettar as he had fielded his brother Pradeep Shettar. The seat was grabbed by Nagaraj Chabbi of the Congress.

In Mysore, R Dharmasena of the Congress romped home defeating US Shekar of KJP.

The Congress win over the three-party combine in Mysore and Dharwad came two days after it snatched Bangalore Rural and Mandya Lok Sabha seats from the JD-S.

The JD-S was backed by the BJP in the Aug 21 byelection to the two Lok Sabha constituencies considered as JD-S bastion. Mandya is about 80 km from Bangalore.

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