The Congress looked to build momentum for the Karnataka assembly polls due by May on the strength of a rousing performance in the state urban local body elections on Monday.
Assessing the drubbing handed out to the ruling BJP, state Congress chief G Parameshwar said, "The people have spoken and their verdict is a strong indicator for the assembly elections."
Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah, leader of the opposition in the assembly, said, "This is a clear indication that people want change in Karnataka."
Maintaining a brave front, chief minister Jagadish Shettar said, "There was an illusion in some quarters that the BJP will be wiped out. It has not happened. The BJP is intact." He added that the elections were decided on local issues.
The CM's predecessor, DV Sadananda Gowda, however, admitted internal problems had cost the BJP.
He did not specify, but party workers grumbled about the negative effect of the exit of former CM BS Yeddyurappa and former minister B Sriramulu, who is considered close to the Reddy brothers - the mining barons of Bellary.
Making its debut, Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janatha Paksha won 274 wards. Sriramulu's BSR Congress bagged 86. Incidentally, the BJP did not win a single ward in Bellary.
This was the first time in nearly two decades that local body elections were held less than two months before assembly polls. According to the state poll panel, 66.25% of 8.5 million voters exercised their franchise.