Congress on comeback trail

BJP loses heavily, no major gains for JD(S); Yeddyurappa flops

Congress on comeback trail

Voters in 208 urban local bodies spread across the state have turned to the Congress as the party won nearly 40 per cent of a total of 4,952 seats for which elections were held on March 7.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could not win even half the number of seats that the Congress secured. It secured 905 seats, the same number of seats which the Janata Dal-Secular bagged.

The results have left the BJP shattered while the verdict is a morale booster for the Congress ahead of the April-May Legislative Assembly elections.

The presence of two new regional parties — B S Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and B Sriramulu’s BSR Congress — had little impact on the electorate.

The JD(S) has lost the battle badly even in the old Mysore region, which is considered as its stronghold. The coastal districts—Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada—have let down the BJP to stand by the Congress. Voters of Udupi, after 45 years, have elected the Congress to power in the city municipal council by giving it 10 more seats than the saffron party.

All the three parties had done their best to get the ULB elections postponed as they did not want the outcome to be seen as a prelude to the Assembly poll. But, the Congress may face the next elections with a renewed vigour. The BJP ministers—be it K S Eshwarappa, Murgesh Nirani, Govind Karjol or S A Ravindranath—could not show their influence over voters in the civic bodies falling under their respective Assembly constituencies.

 It is a sort of reversal of fortunes for the Congress and the BJP as compared to the 2007 ULB polls in the seven city corporations. The Congress has managed to win three of the seven city corporations in the results declared on Monday. The city corporations of Davangere, Mangalore and Bellary have gone to the Congress which were held by the BJP. This time, too, it has been hung results in Gulbarga and Mysore city corporations as in 2007. The only saving grace for the BJP as well as Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is Hubli-Dharwad city corporation, where it has secured 33 of the 67 seats. It needs the support of one member to come to power. Shettar is from Hubli city.

The Congress needs the support of five more members to stake its claim in Gulbarga. And it will be again coalition governance of the Congress and the JD(S) in Mysore. The Congress though has emerged as the single largest party in both corporations needs the support of others to come to power.

 In the Belgaum city corporation, all the 58 seats went to Independents. Those groups which get the support of MES or pro-Karnataka outfits will stake their claim to power in the civic body. 

The State Election Commission conducted elections to 4,952 seats of the total 4,976 seats in urban local bodies in 30 districts. It did not conduct elections to 24 seats as there were no candidates. The Congress has secured 1,960 seats, BJP and the JD-S 905 seats each, KJP 274 seats, BSR Congress 86 seats and Independents 778 seats.

The voting percentage was 66.25. The Independents will have a major say in hung ULBs.

Bangalore City did not go to the polls as the term of the civic body ends in 2014. About 20 per cent of the total voters in the state exercised their franchise in the ULB polls.

The results have thrown up many surprises. In 2007, the Congress stood first by winning 1,606 seats of the 5004, followed by the JD-S (1,502 seats) and BJP (1,180). This time the BJP and JD-S have won an equal number of seats. This also means that the BJP has lost 275 seats and the JD-S 597 seats.

Two leaders who crisscrossed the state in the recent months were breakaway BJP group leader Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu. The BJP had surrendered Bellary to the mining barons Janardhana Reddy and his associate Sriramulu, Independent MLA from Bellary rural.

 In Shimoga district, the fiefdom of Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa, the Congress won 64 seats of the total 176 seats followed by the JD-S (40 seats). The KJP has won 10 seats more than the BJP. The JD-S has got 40 seats. The Congress has emerged as the leading party in CMCs, TMCs and TPs. Of the 43 CMCs, the Congress has gained a majority in 10, followed by the JD-S (5) and BJP (2). A hung verdict has emerged in 26 CMCs.

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