Congress gains over BJP in closely-fought Karnataka civic body election
Out of the 2,664 wards, the Congress won 982 wards, with the BJP coming a close second with 929 seats and the JD(S) a distant third with 375 wards.
The Congress gained an edge over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in closely fought elections to 105 urban local bodies (ULBs) in Karnataka, appearing set after Monday’s results to control a majority of the wards with its ruling coalition partner, the Janata Dal (Secular).
The polls were seen as the first test of popularity of the Congress-JD(S) government after the coalition came to power following a hung verdict in the state assembly elections in May. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party.
Of the 105 ULBs, the Congress won a clear majority in 37 ULBs, the BJP in 31 and the JD(S) in 12, according to the state election commission. The Congress-JD(S) combine won majorities in 12 other ULBs, while 13 of them threw up hung mandates.
Out of the 2,664 wards across 22 districts, the Congress won 982 wards, with the BJP coming a close second with 929 seats and the JD(S) a distant third with 375 wards, official figures showed. The others, including 329 independent candidates, bagged the remaining seats. Elections for the remaining seats, totalling to more than 2,300, are likely be held early next year.
While Karnataka alliance partners Congress, JD(S) and Bahujan Samaj Party had decided to contest independently, former chief minister Siddaramaiah announced on Friday that the parties would form alliances in ULBs that produced hung verdicts.
Elections were held for three city corporations, 29 city municipal councils (CMC), 52 town municipal councils (TMC) and 20 town panchayats (TP).
There were some reasons for the BJP to cheer following Monday results. It continued an impressive performance in the coastal districts, winning seven of the 15 ULBs. In the central districts, the BJP won five of the seven ULBs. The party performed better compared to the previous ULB elections in 2013. In the previous polls conducted for 4,976 seats, the Congress had bagged 1,960 seats and BJP and JD-S 905 seats each.
The Congress performed well in its stronghold in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, where it won 13 of the 24 ULBs. In the Mumbai-Karnataka region, too, the Congress managed to pip the BJP, winning majorities in 18 of the 38 ULBs, against the BJP’s tally of 13.
The JD(S) swept the southern region, winning 12 of the 21 ULBs. It continued impressive performances in the districts of Hassan and Mandya, winning eight of the 10 ULBs.
The BJP’s state president, BS Yeddyurappa, hailed the party’s showing as impressive. “We have substantially increased our tally in hundreds of ULBs across the state. This is proof of the BJP continuing to enjoy the support and confidence of the people,” he said.
Yeddyurappa said the ULB polls will have no bearing on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “The outcome of this ULB elections is neither an indication nor trend-setter for the Lok Sabha elections. Parliamentary elections are fought on a different notes,” he said.
He also highlighted his party’s victory in the Shivamogga city corporation. In the three city corporations of Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru, the BJP performed the best, though it could only manage a majority in Shivamogga, its traditional stronghold.