The Karnataka Congress on Monday accepted its defeat as the bypoll results have shown a landslide victory for the BJP, which has won three seats and is leading in 9 others of the 15 seats it contested on December 5.

Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar said his party has accepted the voters’ mandate.

“We have to agree with the mandate of the voters of these 15 constituencies. People have accepted the defectors. We have accepted defeat, I don’t think we have to be disheartened,” Shivakumar told reporters.

“By-elections are different, general elections are different. Results are results, I won’t differ. But I am confident. Congress has a strong hold. It won’t vanish. No one can end Congress,” he further said.

The Congress troubleshooter further said the party will “have to realise its mistakes and rectify them”.

The Congress is set to lose nine seats.

The ruling BJP needs to win just 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.

According to the Election Commission, the Bharatiya Janata Party has won in 3 seats and is leading in 9 seats. The Congress is leading in 2 seats and an Independent is leading in 1 seat.

BJP’s A Shivaram Hebbar defeated Bhimanna Naik of the Congress in Yellapur by over 31,000 votes.

Though Hebbar defected to the BJP from the Congress, he retained the seat for the fourth time in the state’s coastal Uttar Kannada district.

K Sudhakar of the BJP won the prestigious Chikkaballapur seat, defeating M. Anjappa of the Congress by 34,801 votes. Sudhakar retained the seat even after defecting from the Congress to the BJP.

The ruling party is leading in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Hirekuru, Vijayanagar, Ranibennur, KR Pura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Yeshvanthpura and Krishnarajapete.

The opposition Congress is leading in Hunasuru in Mysuru district and Shivajinagar in Bengaluru central.

Following the astounding victory, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said: “I am happy that people have given a very good verdict. Now, without any problem, we can give a pro-people and a stable government.”

The BJP had fielded 11 Congress and 3 JD(S) defectors to wrest the seats from the opposition parties.

Bypolls were held for 15 of 17 assembly seats left vacant by MLAs who resigned in July, leading to the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) coalition and the BJP’s takeover.

(With inputs from IANS)