BJP humbled in Karnataka urban body elections

Coalition partners Congress and JD(S) leave BJP behind as results come in from Karnataka’s urban body polls

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

NH Web Desk

Despite contesting separately, ruling coalition partners Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka bagged 1,357 seats as against BJP’s 929 in the urban body elections in Karnataka when reports last came in.

Both Congress and BJP, however, hastened to say that these local body elections would have little bearing on the general elections. The results are, however, significant in view of the BJP having emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly election barely a few months ago.

The polls registered a record turnout of 68 per cent for elections to the 2,709 civic wards spanning 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities, 23 town panchayats and 135 wards at Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru city corporations.

A total of 8,340 candidates, including 2,306 from the Congress, 2,203 from the BJP and 1,397 from the JD-S contested in the urban local body elections.

The Congress and alliance partner Janata Dal Secular have together outstripped the BJP in the elections for Karnataka's urban local bodies -- seen as a test for the coalition government formed in May. Of the 2,628 of 2,709 seats where counting is over, the Congress won 982 seats, the BJP 929. The Janata Dal Secular has won 375 seats and Independents the rest.

Speaking at the Congress press conference, state working president Eshwar Khandre said, “We are very happy with the results and how we have performed in Uttara Kannada districts. BJP is weakening in the state.”

BJP chief Yeddyurappa said his party would have done better had it not been for the Congress-JD(S) alliance. The ruling allies however contested separately, with the provision that if need be, they would join hands to keep the BJP out of power again. They have declared that they would tie up post-elections in urban bodies.

Together they have won 1,366 seats which gives them a clear edge over the BJP and will allow them to control a majority of the Urban Local Bodies.

The Congress was ahead in Ballari, Bidar, Gadag, Haveri, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Mysuru, Raichur, Uttara Kannada and Yadgir. The JD(S) led in its traditional strongholds, including Hassan and Mandya.

The BJP had ended up as the single largest party in the assembly polls but had failed to muster numbers to form the government which allowed the Congress and JD(S) to come together as an alliance and take over the reins of administration.

BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said, “We expected better performance of the party than the present results.” The election results according to him are “not an indication of any future elections, particularly Lok Sabha elections… where the BJP is going to win with a thumping majority.”

The BJP had a strong presence in the urban bodies of the bigger cities. They won in Shimoga, the stronghold of Mr Yeddyurappa and emerged as the single largest party in Tumakuru and Mysuru. BJP has a lead in Bagalkote, Belagavi, Chamarajanagar, Chitradurga, Dakshina Kannada, Davangere and Udupi districts.

Polls to the urban local bodies in Kodagu district were not held because of the recent floods in that district. In Tumkur, eight people have been injured in an acid attack on a victory procession of Congress candidate Inayatullah Khan.

In the 2013 local body elections, out of 4,976 seats, the Congress had won, 1,960, while the BJP and the JD(S) won 905 seats each. Independents had won the remaining 1,206 seats.

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