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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is heading for a landslide victory in Karnataka's Assembly by-elections, as it won two seats and is leading in 10 others of the 15 seats it contested on December 5, an official said on Monday.
"The BJP has won Yellapur and Chikkaballapur seats and is leading in 10 seats, while the Congress is ahead in 2 seats and an Independent leading in one seat. The regional party Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is trailing behind both the national parties," poll official G. Jadiyappa told IANS.
BJP's A. Shivaram Hebbar defeated Bhimanna Naik of the Congress in Yellapur by over 31,000 votes.
Though Hebbar defected to the BJP from the Congress, he retained the seat for the fourth time in the state's coastal Uttar Kannada district.
K. Sudhakar of the BJP won the prestigious Chikkaballapur seat, defeating M. Anjappa of the Congress by 34,801 votes. Sudhakar retained the seat even after defecting from the Congress to the BJP.
The ruling party is leading in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Hirekuru, Vijayanagar, Ranibennur, K.R. Pura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Yeshvanthpura and Krishnarajapete.
The opposition Congress is leading in Hunasuru in Mysuru district and Shivajinagar in Bengaluru central.
Independent Sharat Kumar Bachegowda is leading in the high-profile Hosakote seat against the BJP's M.T.B. Nagaraj, who declared assets worth Rs 1,230 crore in his poll affidavit.
Nagaraj is a Congress defector, while Bachegowda is a BJP rebel whom the party expelled for not withdrawing from the crucial battle at the hustings. JD-S did not field its candidate in Hosakote but supported Bachegowda. Bachegowda is the son of BJP's Lok Sabha member from Chikkaballapur B.N. Bache Gowda.
As the ruling party requires a minimum of 7 seats in the 223-member Assembly for a simple majority with 112 as the halfway mark, the BJP will continue to stay in power in Karnataka for over another 3 years till May 2023.
The BJP had fielded 11 Congress and 3 JD-S defectors to wrest the seats from the opposition parties.