Prime Minister Narendra Modi today cited the BJP taking 12 out of 15 assembly seats in the Karnataka by-election as proof that people "trusts" the BJP when it comes to political stability. The BJP galloped ahead in the 12 seats in a big boost for Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's four-month-old government, formed after defections from the previous Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition.
"The mandate in Karnataka was stolen through the backdoor by the Congress; people have now taught the party a lesson," PM Modi said at a rally in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.
"What the country thinks about political stability, and for political stability how much the country trusts BJP, an example of that is in front of us today... BJP is leading on most seats (in Karnataka). I express my gratitude towards people of Karnataka," PM Modi said.
"The bypolls results today showed that the voters have ensured that the Congress and the JDS don't get to stab them in the back again," he added.
Bypolls were held on Thursday for 15 of 17 assembly seats left vacant by MLAs who resigned in July, causing the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition. The BJP has to win at least seven seats for a majority in the assembly, which will have 222 members after the bypolls. Two seats are still vacant. The BJP currently has 105 MLAs and the support of one independent candidate, while the Congress has 66 and the JDS 34.
Mr Yediyurappa was seen celebrating with his son BY Vijayendra as the BJP galloped ahead within an hour of counting, establishing a lead in about a dozen seats.
"We will complete our term. Even people have the same expectations from us," Mr Yediyurappa had said. The opposition declared that the BJP would pay for supporting MLAs who quit their coalition, but the prediction missed the mark.
"We have to agree with the mandate of the voters of these 15 constituencies. People have accepted the defectors. We have accepted defeat. I don't think we have to be disheartened," Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar said.