Counting for the bypolls of 15 Assembly Seats of Karnataka which were held on December 5 has started. The seats fell vacant after the political drama took place four months ago where 17 rebel MLAs from the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular)  parties defected to BJP in a bid to bring down the coalition government. The MLAs were subsequently disqualified from the House but allowed the contest today’s polls.

Initial trends of vote count in 15 Assembly segments in Karnataka indicate that the ruling BJP government would continue in power in the southern state, a party official said on Monday. BJP is leading in 12 seats, Congress leading in 2 seats, Independent leading in 1 seat, as per EC trends

According to early trends over an hour after counting of votes began at 8.00 a.m. in all the Assembly seats, the BJP is leading in 8 and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular in one each.

The ruling BJP needs to win at least seven seats to claim a majority in the House, which will have a strength of 224 after the bypolls, with 2 seats still vacant. The BJP currently has 105 MLAS (106 including the support of an independent candidate) while the Congress has 66 and the JDS 34.

Twelve of the 15 seats were previously held by the Congress and the remaining three by the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS).

According to Election Commission, BJP is leading in Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Yellapur, Chikkaballapur, Vijayanagara and Mahalaxmi Layout, Congress leading in Shivajinagar and Hunasuru, JDS leading in KR Pete and Yeshvanthapura and Independent candidate SK Bachegowda leading in Hosakote.