Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 13 July 2020 9.08 PM IST

Karnataka by-election results on Monday, BJP leaders confident


BENGALURU: Ahead of counting of votes in the crucial byelections to 15 assembly constituencies on December 9, BJP leaders in Karnataka on Sunday oozed confidence about their party winning a majority of seats.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the party would win at least 13 of the 15 seats, while the opposition Congress and JD(S) would have to be content with just one each. "We will win at least 13 seats. The Congress and JD(S) may win one seat each. Our party will carry out overall development of the state in the next three-and-half years," Yediyurappa told reporters here.

The Chief Minister said he was optimistic that the congress and JD(S) would cooperate in helping him run a smooth administration. "After the government completes its term, BJP will win at least 150 seats in the next assembly elections and come to power again, while Congress will continue to remain in the opposition," he said.

BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel was even more optimistic, saying the party would win all the 15 seats. "We will win all the 15 seats in the byelection. I have travelled through all constituencies and seen the enthusiasm of our workers and voters," he told reporters in Hubballi,

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 H D Kumaraswamy led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

BJP had fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators, who joined the party after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the bypolls, as its candidates from their constituencies from where they had won the 2018 assembly elections on Congress and JD(S) tickets.

Among 15 constituencies which went to the bypolls, 12 are held by Congress and three by JD(S).

To a question on the oft-repeated opposition charge that the party tried to lure legislators through 'Operation Lotus' (poaching), he said the BJP does not believe in such practices and Congress and JD(S) were to be blamed for not being able to keep their flock together.

The BJP state chief said discontent in the Congress due to lack of development may compel other MLAs in the rival camp to seek to join them, though they were not needed. "If somebody expresses a desire to join the party, we will welcome them," he said. Kateel said Chief Minister Yediyurappa would 'comfortably' run the government for the next three-and-half years.

The outcome of the bypoll is crucial for BJP, which needs to win at least six seats to remain in a majority.

The Chief Minister had won the July 29 confidence motion after the effective strength of the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote) came down to 208 and the majority mark to 105, equivalent of BJP's current strength, following the disqualifications.

The assembly will still have two vacant seats, where bypolls were not due to pending litigations in the high court.

Currently, BJP has 105 MLAs (including an independent), the Congress 66 and the JD(S) 34. Besides, there is one BSP member, a nominated MLA and the Speaker.

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