The BJP government faces its true test in Karnataka on December 5 in the Karnataka by-polls, the Congress and JD(S) eye to seize back power in the state. The by-polls which was necessitated by the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs by Speaker Ramesh Kumar was originally to be held on October 21 but was later revised by the Election Commission to December 5. The Supreme Court too allowed the rebel MLAs to contest in the Karnataka by-polls, post which 16 rebel MLAs promptly joined the BJP.
The constituencies which are polling on December 5 are - Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagar, Chikkaballapur, K.R. Pura, Yeshvanthapura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar, Hosakote, Krishnarajpet and Hunsur.
The fall of the previous Congress-JD(S) government occurred between July 1 and 10, when 15 Congress and JD(S) MLAs resigned from the Assembly. After tendering their resignation, which was accepted by the Speaker after three days of Hotel politics. Most of the MLAs were flown to Mumbai and were kept in a resort while they appealed to the Supreme Court to accept their resignations.
Meanwhile in Karnataka, the Congress and JD(S) tried to pacify their rebel MLAs who had mainly resigned as they were not given cabinet berths in the government. Congress strongman D K Shivakumar even travelled to Mumbai to meet the MLAs, but to no avail. After the Supreme Court's intervention, the MLAs were made to submit their resignations to the Speaker in person. This led to the much-awaited floor test on August 26, where the BJP managed to garner 105 votes in the truncated assembly, with the support of its 104 MLAs and the support of an Independent MLA.
The halfway mark in the 225-seat Karnataka assembly is 112. After the vacuum created by the 15 seats vacant in the by-polls, the BJP holds exactly 50% support (105 seats) in the truncated Assembly. By fielding 13 of the 16 rebel MLAs, BJP will have have to win at least 8 of the 15 seats in the by-polls to retain their government in the state. While the Congress and JD(S) have not entered in the pre-poll alliance, they have hinted at a post-poll alliance looking at the by-poll results. Currently, the JD(S)-Congress holds 100 seats combined (JD(S)-34 seats, Cong-66). The results for the by-polls are expected on December 9.