BJP Pushed to 2nd Place as Congress-JDS Win More Than 50% Seats in Karnataka Civic Body Polls
Some Congress and JD(S) leaders feel that they would have won over 70% of the seats if they had gone to polls together. PWD minister and the Chief Minister’s elder brother HD Revanna has described the results as a vote of confidence for the four-month-old coalition government.
Congress workers celebrate their win in Karnataka Urban Local Body Election 2018 in Mysuru on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Bengaluru: The results for the Urban Local Body (ULBs) elections were declared in Karnataka on Monday with the Congress winning or leading in 982 wards, the BJP in 927 and the JD(S) in 375. A total of 2,664 wards had gone to the polls in 105 ULBs, while election to nine civic bodies will be held later.
Without mincing words, state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa admitted that the results were not satisfactory and were below party expectations. The former chief minister looked concerned because the BJP won the highest number of MLAs — 69 — from these 21 districts.
In what is more worrisome for the party, coalition partners — Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress — managed to win over 50% of the seats, coming to power in about 55% of the ULBs. The BJP managed to win about 35% of the seats and about 30% ULBs on its own. To Yeddyurappa’s relief, the BJP won his hometown Shimoga City Corporation by a big margin. But the saffron party failed to capture Tumkur and Mysore City Corporations. Though the BJP is the single-largest party in both city corporations, the Congress and JD(S) have majority.
In Saturday’s election, around 36 lakh voters or about just 8% of the total eligible voters in the state exercised their franchise. But the urban areas are considered BJP strongholds and insiders feel that the party should have won at least 50% of the seats on its own. However, Yeddyurappa added that the ULB results will have no impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Less than two kilometres from Yeddyurappa’s house, newly appointed state Congress president Dinesh Gundurao was smiling. It was his first big test after taking over the post two months ago. He was happy that the Congress pushed the BJP to second position, after the saffron party’s top finish in Assembly elections. Gundurao had extensively campaigned for the party across the state.
He said that the results were satisfactory and the urban voters have rejected the BJP at most places.
Even though Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) failed to extend its base beyond the old Mysore districts, it retained its strength in the traditional bastion. Terming the results as a popular thumbs-up for the coalition, the JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda said the two parties would go for post-poll alliance wherever there’s a hung verdict.
Speaking to News18, Gowda said, “Whatever the BJP might say, they are declining. Together, we (Congress-JDS) have won over 50% seats and will form local governments in over 125 places. But it is not an indication of what is likely to happen in the Lok Sabha elections next year.”
Some Congress and JD(S) leaders feel that they would have won over 70% of the seats if they had gone to polls together. Former Congress minister K Shivamurthy Naik said, “We contested separately because of local factors. Now we will come together. The results are positive for us.”
PWD minister and the Chief Minister’s elder brother HD Revanna has described the results as a vote of confidence for the four-month-old coalition government. “It clearly shows that the people are happy with our government. The BJP should be worried about its performance,” he said.
The Congress, which was decimated in costal Karnataka, seems to have managed to regain some lost ground in the ULB polls. It has also done reasonably well in north Karnataka districts. Election to three Town Panchayats with 45 seats in Kodagu district were postponed due to recent floods.
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