Bengaluru, September 21: Bypolls in 15 assembly constituencies of Karnataka next month may determine the fate of the nascent BJP government headed by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. Barely enjoying a majority in a fractured House, the saffron party would have to win at least seven of the 15 seats going to bypolls to cross the halfway mark. The party's prospects are strong, according to pundits, as the erstwhile ruling coalition partners - Congress and the JD(S) - have decided to go solo in the by-elections. By-Elections 2019: 64 Seats to Go to Bypolls on October 21, Results on Oct 24; Check Full List of Constituencies.
At present, the strength of the Karnataka assembly has been reduced to 208 members due to the disqualification of 15 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law. The BJP, which recently turned the tables against the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government, has 105 legislators -- one above the current halfway-mark. The party is also being supported by two independent MLAs, taking the government's tally to 107 seats.
Although 17 seats are currently vacant, the Election Commission has announced bypolls in 15 constituencies. Voting dates in two seats - Maski and RR Nagar - have not been announced due to a legal dispute being raised in the Karnataka High Court.
After the upcoming bypolls, the strength of Karnataka assembly will increase to 223, thereby, bringing the halfway majority mark to 112 seats. The BJP, which currently has 105 MLAs, will need to win seven seats to secure a majority on its own.
Counting the two independents who are currently backing the Yediyurappa regime, the government would comfortably survive even if the party ends up winning six out of the 15 seats in the by-elections.
Notably, the bypolls will be held on October 21 as the schedule released by the Election Commission today. Polls to the vacant seats will be held in across 17 states, along with the union territory of Puducherry. The results will be announced by the EC on October 24.
After the Commission released the bypoll schedule, JD(S) president HD Deve Gowda reiterated that there would no alliance between his party and the Congress.
"HD Kumaraswamy, who was the Chief Minister heading the coalition government has already declared that we want to contest all 15 constituencies. The suffering he faced at the hands of Congress, he does not want it anymore," Gowda said.