Congress’ big gains in urban local body polls in Karnataka

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In a morale-boosting performance ahead of assembly polls, the opposition Congress in Karnataka today put up an impressive show in the elections to urban local bodies, leaving JDS and the ruling BJP way behind. Independent candidates won in Bhatkal with 21 of 22 seats.

With results in around 4,500 wards of a total of nearly 5000 announced this afternoon, the Congress, clearly benefiting from multi-cornered contests, bagged more than 1,800 wards, while JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda came second with some 870. The ruling BJP finished third with 800-plus wards in it kitty.

Heavyweight BS Yeddyurappa, who quit BJP late last year and floated Karnataka Janatha Paksha, seems to have played spoilsport for the ruling party, as also BSR Congress of former BJP Minister B Sriramulu.

KJP and BSR Congress, testing the political waters for the first time, won 250-plus and 77 wards, respectively, while independents with a whopping 625 wards, are bound to play a key part in the ULBs which have thrown up a hung verdict.

Elections to 207 ULBs — seven city corporations, 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 92 town panchyats were held on March seven, and their outcome was considered a pointer to the Assembly elections, due by May.

The Congress won the city corporations of Davanagere, Mangalore and Bellary. In fact, the BJP was routed in Bellary, where it drew a blank. Mysore and Gulbarga city corporation elections were marked by fractured mandate.

The State Election Commission had announced elections to 208 urban local bodies (ULBs) with a total of 4976 wards but in Terdal town municipal council in Bagalkote district, people boycotted the polls in protest against the Government not including the town in the newly announced Taluks, with no nominations filed in all 23 wards.

Candidates had won in 85 wards unopposed, while there was no nomination in one ward in Chikkaballapur city municipal council, leading to elections in 4867 wards in all.

“It’s a warning bell to all political parties”, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said reacting to the poll outcome.

“There was illusion in some quarters that the BJP will be wiped out. It has not happened. BJP is in tact”.

Noting that a large number of independents have won, he said this showed that local issues weighed heavily on the minds of voters, Shettar added.

In the last urban local bodies polls in 2007, of the total 5007 wards, the Congress had come first winning 1606, followed by JDS 1502 and BJP 1180.


With inputs from PTI


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