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    BJP sweeps by-polls in Karnataka

    Bangalore: The ruling BJP in Karnataka on Friday made a clean sweep in by-election held on April 9 winning all the three seats by comfortable margins.

    BJP candidates CP Yogeshwar won by 12,000 votes in Chennapatna over his nearest JDS rival SL Nagaraj, dashing the H D Devgowda led party's hopes of retaining the seat.

    In Jagalur (ST) constituency, BJP's SV Ramachandra defeated his rival HP Rajesh (Ind and BJP rebel) by 4,433 votes. In Bangarpet (SC) constituency M Naryanaswamy of BJP defeated KM Naryanaswamy of Congress by 4,044 votes.

    BJP wrested Bangarapet and Jagalur seats from Congress and Chennapatna from JDS.

    Upset over the defeat, JDS candidate C Venkateshappa announced his decision to quit the party.

    The outcome has come as a big boost to BJP as the opposition campaign to reject 'defectors' came to naught.

    With today's electoral outcome, the BJP's strength in the 224-member Assembly has risen to 109. BJP also has the support of the lone Independent Varthur Prakash. Congress continues with 71 and JDS 26.

    There are 17 vacancies in the House following the disqualification of 16 MLAs-- eleven BJP and five independents after they withdrew support to the Yeddyurappa

    Karadi Sanganna of JDS has resigned his Koppal seat and already joined BJP.

    In October 2010, S V Ramachandra and M Naryanarayana Swamy of Congress and M C Ashwath of JDS quit their parties and joined BJP.

    Ramacahndra and Narayanaswamy re-contested, but Ashwath did not.

    Yogeshwar, who had lost the earlier bye-election to JDS from Chennapatna, became successful this time. The Congress defeat in Bangarpet is seen as a major loss of face for Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa, who
    hails from Kolar district.