Siddaramaiah resigns as Congress Legislative Party leader after bypoll results

Siddaramaiah resigns as Congress Legislative Party leader after bypoll results

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on December 9, resigned as the leader of Congress Legislative Party (CLP) and as the Leader of Opposition following his party's poor performance in bypolls to 15 Assembly constituencies in the state.

"We accept the mandate of the people. Our expectation was that the voters would teach a lesson to those who went against the tenets of democracy, but that expectation has gone now. We accept the people's mandate. I have resigned as the Congress Legislative Party leader and have submitted my letter to (Interim Congress president) Sonia Gandhi," Siddaramiah said during a press briefing.

The senior Congress leader was elected as the CLP leader in May last year ahead of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition's trust vote on the floor of the Karnataka Assembly.

The Congress won in two segments -Hunasuru and Shivajinagar, while its former ally the JD(S) trailed in all the 12 seats it had contested.

The ruling BJP, meanwhile, managed to retain majority in the Karnataka Assembly when it bagged six seats in the by-elections. The saffron party is also leading in an equal number in other segments where counting is underway.

The BJP's good show in 12 seats comes as a morale booster for the saffron party after it's setback in Maharashtra.

The bypolls were held to fill vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July this year and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

The BJP needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in majority in the 225-member Assembly including the Speaker (who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats - Maski and R R Nagar.

In the Assembly with the current strength of 208 after disqualifications, the BJP has 105 MLAs (including an Independent), the Congress 66 and the JD(S) has 34 MLAs. There is also one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker.

Twelve of the 15 seats were held by the Congress, and three by JD(S).

The outcome of the bypoll, which recorded 67.91 percent polling, is crucial for the survival of the BJP government.