Today's polls to urban local bodies, a litmus test for political parties

21,974 candidates in fray in around 5,000 wards across the State

Today's polls to urban local bodies, a litmus test for political parties

Elections to 208 urban local bodies (ULBs), billed as the semifinals for the ensuing Legislative Assembly polls, will be held on Thursday.

Around 85 lakh voters, that is 20 per cent of the state’s total electorate, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections being held for seven city corporations (excluding Bangalore), 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 93 town panchayats across the State.

Polling will be held between 7 am and 5 pm and counting of votes will be taken up on March 11.
As many as 10,482 polling stations have been set up of which 3,146 have been declared sensitive or hyper-sensitive. At total of 46,120 polling personnel will manage the election process.

As many as  21,974 candidates are in fray for 4,867 seats in the 208 ULBs. Congress has fielded the highest number of candidates (4,492), followed by BJP (3,954) and the JD-S (3,651).

As many as 85 candidates have been elected unopposed. No nomination papers were received in  24 wards including all the 23 wards in Terdal Town Municipal Council in Bagalkot district and one ward in Chikkballapur City Municipal Council.

The two new regional parties, the BSR Congress of former minister B Sriramulu and the KJP of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, will be testing political waters for the first time.

The outcome of the poll will reveal the impact of their outfits on the state’s political landscape.
Thursday’s civic polls will be a litmus test for all major parties. For the ruling BJP, which has a strong hold in urban areas, the elections are crucial to prove its popularity, particularly after Yeddyurappa launched the KJP.

The heads of political parties have been insisting that the outcome of the poll can’t be termed as a pointer to the Assembly election results.

High-voltage campaign

The Congress, which launched a high-voltage campaign across the state, is seeing the civic polls as a stepping stone to come back to power in the Assembly and also regain control over its erstwhile strong fortresses.

The JD(S) is making use of the polls to consolidate its influence in the old Mysore belt and also to make inroads into the north Karnataka region.

  The declaration of the civic polls had caught all political parties off-guard, particularly with elections to the Assembly due in a couple of months. In the previous elections held in 2007, the Congress had taken the first place winning 1,606 wards followed by the JD(S) with 1,502 wards. The BJP stood third bagging 1,180 of the total 5,007 wards.

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