In Karnataka, by-elections to 15 Assembly constituencies commenced at 7.00 am today. Polling will continue till 6.00 p.m. The by-elections were necessitated due to the disqualification of 14 Congress and three JD(S) party rebel legislators, leading to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.
BJP has fielded 13 of the 15 disqualified MLAs after the Supreme Court allowed them to contest the by-elections. R Shankar from Ranebennur and Roshan Baig from Shivajinagar are two of the disqualified MLAs who are not contesting.
Out of 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly, 17 are vacant and the by-election is now being held for 15 seats. Maski in Raichur district and R R Nagar in Bengaluru south-west are two assembly segments where elections were not announced as there is a litigation against the candidates who had won the May 2018 Assembly election. Hence in the House strength of 222, the magic number is 112.
BJP has the strength of 105 members including the Speaker and a lone Independent MLA support it. So it has to win at least six more seats to gain a simple majority. There are 165 candidates in fray seeking a mandate from 37 lakh 82 thousand 681 registered voters in 4185 polling booths. The counting of votes will be on December 9th.