ULB polls: Cong moves swiftly to deny BJP power

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao. PTI file photo.

An upbeat Congress is attempting yet another coup d’etat to keep the BJP out of power in urban local bodies (ULB) wherever possible.

The party is making swift moves to rope in independents who have won a large number of ULB seats to shore up numbers and take control of as many ULBs as it can - a throwback to the aftermath of the May 12 Assembly poll results when the party acted swiftly to join hands with the JD(S).

“There are many places where polls were held without party symbols, which means there were only independent candidates,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said. “Let’s see how many support us.”

In line with the Congress’ approach, JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda told reporters that the regional party would form alliances wherever possible to keep BJP out of power.

Holding the reins of ULBs is important as it will help parties strengthen their base ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha polls.

Rao claimed that the Congress had won the ULB polls. “This is a significant result because it disproves the notion that the Congress had become weak in Karnataka after its alliance with the JD(S). Now, nobody can dispute the fact that the Congress is number one and people have reposed faith in us,” he said.

The alliance partners did not have a pre-poll truck as both parties were aware that joining hands was easier said than done at the local level. “Still, we maintained the coalition dharma and did not attack each other,” Rao said.

The Congress, however, has failed to make inroads into BJP bastions, especially in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. “We need to improve there, but if you see Karkala and Bantwal, we have made gains,” he said. The party suffered an upset in Chamarajanagar and Tumakuru districts. Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara is elected from Koratagere in Tumakuru, where the JD(S) won.

Rao conjectured that the ULB poll results were an indicator that the pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) for the Lok Sabha polls can be successful. “BJP can be decimated if the two parties work together,” he said. Rao, however, declined to answer a query on whether the Congress was worried about the long-term impact of the JD(S) having strengthened its own votebase in the ULB polls. “We will do these analyses later.”

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ULB polls: Cong moves swiftly to deny BJP power

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