The ruling BJP appeared headed for a splendid show, leading in 11 out of 15 Assembly constituencies that went for the by-polls on 5 December, as the counting was taken up today. The BJP government led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa needs to win at least six of those 15 seats to remain in a majority in the Assembly.
In the previous elections, the Congress had won in 12 of those 15 seats and the JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, the remaining three. Trends available so far showed Congress leading in two (Shivajinagar and Hunsur), while JD(S) and an independent candidate were ahead in Yeshwanthpura and Hoskote constituencies respectively.
BJP candidate Narayana Gowda has taken a lead of 1,403 votes in K R Pete against Congress' B L Devaraj, who was ahead in the initial rounds. If Gowda wins, this will be Amit Shah-led party's first ever victory in the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya district, dominated by Congress and JD(S) for decades.
Marching towards victory, BJP's Shivaram Hebbar was leading against Bhimanna Naik of Congress in Yellapur by a margin of 39,598 votes. Also, Gopalaiah of BJP was leading in Mahalakshmi Layout by a margin of 15,094 votes against Girish K Nashi of JD(S). JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had extensively campaigned in Mahalakshmi Layout to defeat their former close confidant Gopalaiah, who joined BJP.
In Gokak that saw a battle between the Jarkiholi brothers, Ramesh Jarkiholi of BJP was ahead of his brother Lakhan from the Congress by a margin of 12,615 votes. Other BJP candidates who are leading are- Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), K Sudhaka (Chikkaballapura), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani), Arun Kumar Guttur (Ranebennur), and Byrathi Basavaraj (K R Puram).
Congress nominees H P Manjunath (Hunsur) and Rizwan Arshad (Shivajinagar) were leading by a margin of 19,395 and 2,414 votes respectively at last count, while JD(S)' Javarayi Gowda was ahead by a wafer-thin margin in Yeshwanthpura. BJP's rebel and independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, son of Chikkaballapura BJP Lok Sabha member B N Bachegowda, was leading ahead of the party's official candidate MTB Nagaraj in Hoskote by a margin of 8,117 votes.
After he refused to bow out of the electoral race, the BJP had expelled Sharath from the party. Among 13 disqualified legislators fielded by the BJP as party candidates for the bypolls, 10 are maintaining a lead against their opponent candidates.