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Voting for bypolls to 15 assembly seats in Karnataka on Thursday

Voting for bypolls to 15 assembly seats in Karnataka which will decide the future of the BS Yediyurappa government will be held on Thursday.

The bypolls for 15 assembly segments are being held following the disqualification of the MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S) which led to the collapse of the coalition government.

The high-octane campaign for the bypolls ended on Tuesday. The counting of votes will be conducted on December 9.

The 15 constituencies that will go to the bypolls are Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagar, Chikballapur, KR Puram, Yeshwanthpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hoskote, KR Pet and Hunsur. 

There will still be two vacant seats – Maski and R R Nagar – after the bypolls to these seats. 

The BJP needs to win at least six seats to maintain its thin majority in the assembly. 

The bypolls were necessitated after the 17 Congress-JD(S) legislators rebelled against the coalition government, leading to their disqualification by the assembly speaker. 

While 13 constituencies were held by the Congress, three MLAs had won on the JD(S) symbol. One MLA had won as an independent candidate but subsequently joined the Congress. 

Their rebellion led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

The disqualified MLAs moved the Supreme Court against the then Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision. Their disqualification was upheld by the apex court which allowed them to contest the polls. 

Earlier the bypolls were scheduled to be held on October 21 but the Election Commission deferred the voting as the top court was still hearing the matter. 

The BJP has fielded as its candidates 13 of the legislators who joined the party after the Supreme Court verdict. 

The government has the support of 106 MLAs, including 105 from the BJP and one independent, in the House which currently has the strength of 207 members. After the result of 15 seats, there will be 222 members in the house and the majority mark will reach 111. The BJP needs to win at least six out of 15 seats to maintain its majority in the house.