Congress gains edge in urban local body polls

Congress gains edge in urban local body polls

The Congress, which had suffered a setback in the recent Assembly elections, got an upper hand in the urban local bodies (ULB) polls winning 32 of the 105 civic bodies on its own, while its alliance partner in the coalition government, the JD(S), won 13.

The two parties had, however, contested the elections held on August 31 independently. The BJP has won 26 ULBs, including the city corporation of Shivamogga. A hung verdict has emerged in 29 civic bodies, and independents dominate in five ULBs.

The saffron party performed well in three city corporations: It won the Shivamogga city corporation, while it emerged as the single-largest party in Mysuru and Tumakuru, but failed to cross the half-way mark. In Mysuru, the BJP won 22 of the 62 seats, the Congress 19 and the JD(S) 18 seats. In Tumakuru, BJP won 12 seats of the total 35. The Congress and the JD(S) won 10 seats each.

In the 2,632 seats spanning three corporations, 29 city municipal councils (CMCs), 53 town municipal councils and 20 town panchayats, the Congress won 982, the BJP 929 and the JD(S) 375. Independent candidates won in 329 wards.

Both the Congress and the JD(S) leaders said the two parties will enter into a post-poll alliance in civic bodies with hung verdicts. They also maintained that the results will have no effect on their political equation at the state level. The BJP, too, has been trying to rope in independents to gain a majority in some of these ULBs.

Holding the reins of power in ULBs is important for the three parties as it will help them strengthen their base ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections. Though the Congress has bagged more seats, the results show that the electorate has not given a decisive verdict in favour of any of these parties.

The results, which have given an indication of the pulse of the people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, also reveal that the BJP has fared well in urban areas like corporations and CMCs, while the Congress and the JD(S) have fared better in TMCs and TPs, which are largely semi-urban.

State Election Commissioner P N Srinivasachari said the Urban Development Department will have to notify the reservation for president and vice-president for the ULBs following which elections will be held. The elections, however, will be conducted by the jurisdictional district administration.

All parties claim victory

All parties claimed they have done well in the elections. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said urban voters were always perceived to be BJP supporters. But the outcome of the ULB elections shows that city voters are in favour of the JD(S)-Congress coalition, he said. KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “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). This is our victory.”

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said the party has significantly increased its tally compared to the 2013 elections. The party has made inroads into the bastion of the Congress and the JD(S), he claimed. The Congress had done well in the districts of Ballari, Haveri, Kalaburagi and Raichur while the BJP has fared well in Bagalkot, Belagavi and Dakshina Kannada. The JD(S) continues to dominate in Mandya, Tumakuru and Hassan.

An average voting percentage of 63.8 was clocked in the ULB polls.In the previous ULB polls in 2013, the Congress again had emerged victorious.

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