Congress crumbles, Yediyurappa strengthens his hold in the assembly

Saying that the government has an advantage in byelections, Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar has accepted defeat on behalf of his party. All the 15 seats that went to the polls on Thursday fell vacant when the Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of the lawmakers who resigned and thus toppled the Congress-JD(S) government in July. BJP needed to win seven of these to maintain an effective majority in the assembly, but it is on track to do much better than that.

This means that chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s grip on power has become stronger. Congress had held 12 of the 15 seats that went to the polls, JD(S) 3, and BJP fielded 13 of the disqualified legislators in the polls. Their good performance is being read by some as a reflection of a strong local connect with their constituency and by others as an emphatic vote for BJP. Either way, voters haven’t punished them for being turncoats.

But the future will still not be a cakewalk for Yediyurappa. He has the difficult task of accommodating all the victorious rebels in his cabinet without setting off rebellion amongst scores of “senior” BJP MLAs who cannot be likewise accommodated. Still, in the see-sawing Karnataka politics, today is a good day for the unfading BJP warhorse.

Read also: BJP set to sweep bypolls; 4-month-old Yediyurappa government to continue in Karnataka

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