ULB polls put parties in a quaint position

 With elections announced for urban local bodies on March 7, the parties are one worried lot. MLAs, who, till the other day, sported infectious sm­i­l­e­s on their faces, were lately seen fretting as to what pro­spects polls held for them.

For, with the Assembly election elections scheduled in May, it is but obivous that the outcome of March 7 polls would hold a reality mirror to their respective party’s impending fate at the hustings come May.

The most anxious, among them being, the Congress. The party is in a piquant situation as it is faced with problems of plenty. While, on the one hand, there are many aspiring claimants for tickets to the urban local bodies polls, as also Assembly elections that follows, on the other, those already in office (read sitting members) naturally expect the party to repose faith and renominate them in respective constituencies.

What makes it difficult is that presently the Congress has highest number of seats in ULBs — 1,606 out of a total 5,004. The Janata Dal (Secular) follows with 1,502 and the BJP 1,180 seats.

Those denied their due will be roiled with their constitutency MLAs having failed in making a winning case out for them. It is mainly workers from block to taluk level who eye the ULBs, and it is they who are also the pillar of strength of MLAs because they are grassroot workers who toil hard for victory of their Assembly candidates.

It is only natural to expect that both — those who contest and lose, and those that fail to get an opportunity to test the waters, would not campaign for the MLA candidates. They make for obvious candidates for rebels and poaching, thereby denting the chances of the party’s official nominees. This was one of the prime reasons why sitting MLAs tried their best to get elections postponed.

While Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jarkiholi opined that conducting polls with 2007 reservation pattern would render injustice to SC/STs, Law and Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar observed that the government only wanted elections to be held as per the 2011 data in the interest of social justice.

However, KPCC chief G  Parameshwara had a different take. He said holding elections to ULBs now, with Assembly polls just three months away would only create confusion. “The polls to ULBs have come at a time when we were looking at a bigger mandate,” he said adding the government should explore legal option to defer polls.

The only sang-froid voice was Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah who chirply quipped: “In a democratic set up, elections are always welcome.” Well, with their fates hanging in balance, the parties have bravely spoken. Only June will tell which party will emerge victorious to  hold the reins. Now though the SC and  SEC have had their way.

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