After a poor show in the Karnataka bypolls, senior Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah on Monday resigned as the party's legislative leader in the state.

The Congress, which held 12 of the 15 seats where by-elections were held on December five, won only two, in a huge setback to the opposition party.

In a letter to Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Siddaramaiah expressed his sincere regrets for not being able to give "satisfactory results" in the byelections.

"I deem it necessary to step down as Leader of the CLP by taking moral responsibility", he wrote.

"As a CLP leader, there is a need to uphold democratic principles. In the interest of the party, I have tendered my resignation as the CLP leader", Siddaramaiah told reporters.

Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao too followed the suit and resigned from his post.

"I am taking responsibility and resigning from the post of party's Karnataka state unit president," he said.

The Congress, which won 12 of those 15 seats in the 2018 assembly polls, won only in two segments -- Hunasuru and Shivajinagar, while its former ally the JD(S) trailed in all the 12 seats it had contested.

JD(S) had won in three- K R Pete, Mahalakshmi Layout and Hunsur- out of these 15 constituencies in the 2018 assembly polls.

Independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, who was earlier expelled from BJP for anti-party activities after he contested the bypoll as a rebel, was heading for a win in Hoskote.

The 10 BJP candidates who won are: Arabail Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapura), Narayana Gowda (K R Pete), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), and Arun Kumar Guttur (Ranebennur).

BJP candidates who are leading are S T Somashekar (Yeshwanthpura) and Byrathi Basavaraj (K R Puram).

Congress candidates who won are Rizwan Arshad (Shivajinagar) and H P Manjunath (Hunasureu).

The BJP needed to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in a 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 the 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.

The bypolls were held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the 14-month-old H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

The by-election was seen as much a litmus test for Siddaramaiah as it was for Yediyurappa.
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