Karnataka’s ruling BJP is heading for a sweep in bypolls it needed to win to retain power in the state. The party is leading in 12 of 15 seats, in a big boost for Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s four-month-old government, formed after defections from the previous Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition. Conceding defeat, the Congress said voters had “accepted defectors”. Bypolls were held on Thursday for 15 of 17 assembly seats left vacant by MLAs who resigned in July, causing the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition. The BJP has to win at least seven seats for a majority in the assembly, which will have 222 members after the bypolls. Two seats are still vacant. The BJP currently has 105 MLAs and the support of one independent candidate, while the Congress has 66 and the JDS 34.
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