Bengaluru: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday retained majority in the Karnataka Assembly when it bagged six seats in the bye-elections in which it was also leading in an equal number in other segments where counting is underway.
The BJP's performance in the 12 seats is being seen as a morale booster for the saffron party after it's setback in Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a poll meeting in Jharkhand, hailed the BJP's performance and accused the Congress of “stealing the people's mandate” in Karnataka through the backdoor, contending it has been taught a lesson.
The Congress, which won 12 of those 15 seats in the 2018 Assembly polls, was leading only in two segments -- Hunsur and Shivajinagar, while its former ally the Janata Dal (Secular) trailed in all the 12 seats it contested.
Independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, who was earlier expelled from BJP for anti-party activities after he contested the bypoll as a rebel, was heading for a win in Hoskote.
The six BJP candidates who won are: Arabail Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapura), Narayana Gowda (K R Pete), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani) and K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura).
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 14-month-old H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.
The BJP needed to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in a majority in the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats -- Maski and R R Nagar.
In the Assembly with the current strength of 208 after the disqualifications, the BJP has 105 MLAs (including an independent), the Congress 66 and the JD(S) has 34 MLAs.
There is also one Bahujan Samaj Party member, a nominated member and the Speaker.