Bengaluru: Karnataka's ruling coalition Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Congress was leading in four out five seats (three Lok Sabha and two Assembly) in the vote count, including in BJP stronghold Ballari.
Congress leader DK Shivakumar, who led the Congress campaign in Ballari, tweeted, "This Deepavali, I thank the people of Karnataka & especially Bellary for blessing Congress party with this record victory. With support & guidance of Congress President Shri @RahulGandhi & Former PM Shri HD Devegowda, the coalition leaders & workers strived hard to defeat BJP".
In 1999, Ballari made news when two titans - Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, now Union Minister -- fought from there. Sonia Gandhi won that round in what had been a Congress stronghold since Independence.
The BJP took the seat in the next election and never looked back. Iron ore-rich Ballari became a BJP stronghold, thanks to the blessings of the controversial Reddy brothers who were close to BJP leader nd former Chief Minister B S Yeddyuraooa and were later embroiled in illegal mining and export cases
According to early trends, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was expected to hold on only to its Shimoga seat.
The JD-S was leading over BJP in Ramanagara and Mandya, while the Congress was leading in Jamkhandi and Bellary, an Election Commission official told IANS.
Counting of votes began at 8 a.m. in Ballari (reserved), Mandya and Shimoga Lok Sabha seats and Jamkhandi and Ramanagara assembly seats for the polling held on November 3.
Prior to the bypolls, the JD-S held Ramanagara and Mandya seats, while the Congress Jamakhandi and the BJP Bellary and Shimoga.
Congress candidate for Jamkhandi assembly seat Anand Siddu Nyamagouda was leading over BJP's Shrikant Kulkarni, as per leads from EC website after nearly two hours.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha Kumaraswamy of JD-S was reported to have won in Ramanagara assembly segment over BJP's L.A. Chandrashekar by a comfortable margin, according to NDTV.
Chandrashekar had quit the BJP and re-joined the Congress just days ahead of the bypolls. His nomination, however, remained since he withdrew from the bye-election after the final date of withdrawal.
Congress' V.S. Ugrappa from Bellary Lok Sabha (reserved) seat was leading over BJP's J.Shantha, while from the Mandya Lok Sabha seat, L. Shivarame Gowda of the JD-S was leading over BJP's Siddaramaiah.
In Shimoga parliamentary seat, BJP's state unit president and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's son B.Y. Raghavendra was leading over JD-S nominee Madhu Bangarappa, the son of former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa,, as per trends till 11. a.m.
Around 66% of the 54.5 lakh electorate have voted in the five bypolls.
In 2014, the BJP had won 17 of Karnataka's 23 parliamentary seats. The Congress won nine and HD Kumaraswamy's JD-S two seats. The BJP won 104 of the 224 seats in the Assembly election held in May this year.