Bypolls 2019: With just over 50% success rate, test of survival for Yediyurappa on Oct 21
Bengaluru, Sep 26: With just over 50 per cent success rate, bypolls to fifteen Assembly constituencies will be a litmus test for the ruling BJP-led government in Karnataka.
Yediyurappa is working cautiously as the stability of his government will be at stake if the party fails to win at least six of the 15 seats in the by-polls.
Interestingly, all the 15 seats going to bypolls were won by the Congress (12) and JD(S) (3), in the previous May 2018 assembly elections. And the BJP strongman has an uphill task to save his government.
What makes these elections interesting is the vote margin. Out of the 15 seats going to the polls, eight were won by margins of over 10,000 votes. While in the remaining seven, only one seat (Hirekerur) was won by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes. The other four seats were won by margins below 5,000 votes.
Data on bye-elections reveals that over the past 20 years in the state shows that of the 27 such polls, the ruling party won 16. However, 2019 bypolls may give a different picture given the fact that the polls have been necessitated by disqualifications.
If bypolls necessitated by the deaths of incumbent MLAs are filtered out, then the record becomes 10 wins for incumbent governments out of 17 bypolls.
During the BJP's tenure between 2008 and 2013, a majority of 11 bypolls were held and the BJP won only six seats, with a success rate of just over 50 per cent.
Disqualified MLAs jittery
While 17 MLAs had been disqualified by then Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in July last year under the anti-defection law, bypolls have not been notified for two constituencies Maski and Rajarajeshwari Nagar in view of pending election petitions related to them.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy collapsed in July following the rebellion and paved the way for the installation of the BJP government led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
The bypoll announcement has made the disqualified MLAs jittery and they are hoping the top court would help them contest the elections.
By-election win crucial for BJP
Winning most seats in this by-elections is crucial for BJP to stay in power. The saffron party has a 105 MLAs (including one independent) in the assembly whose current strength is 208 (after 17 disqualifications).
The Congress' strength is 66, JD(S) has 34 MLAs in the Assembly that also consists of one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker.
Thestrength of the assembly is 225. The halfway mark is 113. The BJP will need to win at least six seats in the bypolls for 15 constituencies that will go for polls, to remain in power.