Setback to Cong in ZP polls

Last Updated 23 February 2016, 20:11 IST

In a major setback to the Congress, the ruling party managed to bag majority only in 10 of the 30 Zilla Panchayats (ZPs) that went to polls recently, while 11 ZPs threw up a hung verdict.

The BJP managed to win in seven ZPs and the JD(S) wrested control of just two ZPs, as counting of votes was taken up simultaneously across the state on Tuesday.

In the 2011 polls, the Congress and JD(S) secured majority in four ZPs each, while the BJP had bagged 12 ZPs. The verdict was fractured in 10 ZPs.  Ahead of the polls, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and Home Minister and KPCC president G Parameshwara, went on record stating that the party will win in at least 20 ZPs.

But the Congress was not even able to retain its hold in Mysuru and Tumakuru ZPs, the home turf of Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara, respectively. The verdict is split in these ZPs. A solace for the party is that it managed to make inroads into the JD(S) stronghold of Ramanagara by winning a majority in the ZP, and improved its performance in Uttara Kannada, Gadag and Belagavi. 

Siddaramaiah admitted that the Congress’ performance was not up to the mark. “Though we had good expectations the results have not been very encouraging. We expected to bag 16 to 20 ZP seats,” he said.

Pressure on CM
The results has also put pressure on the chief minister to go in for the long-pending Cabinet reshuffle and weed out “non-performing ministers,” a demand of the Congress’ old guard. Siddaramaiah said he will go in for Cabinet reshuffle after the Budget session.
The BJP camp was happy with the results patting their own back while stating that it was an “impressive performance” for a party in the Opposition in a local body election.
The BJP has regained its lost base in these elections by bagging both Dakshina Kannada and Udupi ZPs. The party also seems to be making a comeback in Ballari, where it was losing ground. 

On its part, the JD(S) has managed to retain only Hassan and Mandya ZPs, but has the potential of emerging as the kingmaker in several of the 11 ZPs with a hung verdict.
Seat-wise break-up of the ZP polls put the Congress at the top slot with 498 of the total 1,083 seats, followed by the BJP with 408 seats and the JD(S) with 148.

The taluk panchayats (TPs) witnessed a more close fight. Of the 175 TPs, the Congress and the BJP bagged majority in 56 TPs each and the JD(S) in 20 TPs. As many as 43 TPs witnessed a fractured verdict.

(Published 23 February 2016, 20:11 IST)

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