- Bypolls are being held in 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka
- Some 37 lakh people are eligible to cast their votes
- BJP needs to win at least six seats to retain its majority
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The BJP needs to win at least six seats to retain its majority in the 225-member assembly, which would still have two vacant ones in Maski and RR Nagar. The results will be out on December 9.
The BJP currently has 105 MLAs (including an independent) while the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular have 66 and 34 respectively. There is also a Bahujan Samaj Party member, a nominated member and the Speaker.
Most of the constituencies faced a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP, but in the southern parts of the state, the Janata Dal Secular comes into the picture, making it a triangular fight.
The rebel MLAs joined the BJP last month, after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the bypolls, and 13 got party tickets. Of the 15 constituencies going to the polls, 12 were held by the Congress and three by the Janata Dal Secular.
The constituencies where bypolls were held are Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagar, Chikballapur, KR Puram, Yeshwanthpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hoskote, KR Pet and Hunsur.
The Janata Dal Secular and the Congress contested the polls separately, their alliance lying in tatters after its collapse on the floor of the house. While the BJP and the Congress fielded candidates on all 15 seats, the Janata Dal Secular contested from 12.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has urged voters to come out in large numbers. "There can be meaning to democracy only if 80-85 per cent voters come out to vote. As 15 of the constituencies going to the polls have a holiday on Thursday, I request people to come out and vote," he said.
During the campaign, the BJP sought votes for "stability", while the Congress and the JDS asked people to defeat the disqualified legislators responsible for the collapse of their coalition government in July.
Senior leaders from both the Congress and the JDS have indicated they may join hands again to form a coalition government in case the BJP fails to get the required number of seats to stay in majority.
The Congress and the JDS ran a coalition government for 14 months in Karnataka and contested the Lok Sabha election together. Their coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy of the JDS fell in July after 17 MLAs exit the coalition.