Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday emerged as a major winner in the local governing polls, bagging 12 zila panchayats (district councils) out of 30.
The victory is a shot in the arm for chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, who is facing land grab allegations that led to a mutiny against him three months ago.
The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) won four zila panchayats each while the remaining 10 saw split verdicts.
Of the 176 taluk (sub-district) panchayats, the BJP won 68, Congress 31 and JD-S 29, while no party emerged a clear winner in the remaining 48.
Over 65% of 21 million voters had exercised their franchise in the elections, which took place on December 26 and 31 and January 1.
This is a big boost for Yeddyurappa, who had barely managed to retain his post after Opposition parties launched a campaign against him for alleged land grab by his kin.
He was forced to prove his strength on the floor of the House twice after BJP lawmakers split over corruption in the state.
"I thank the voters for their optimum support to the BJP," Yeddyurappa said. "Earlier, the BJP was considered an urban-based party. These results have shown that the BJP has a huge rural base."
State-level Congress chief G Parameshwara, however, described the results as a "setback" to the BJP. He indicated that Congress may tie up with the JD-S to secure power in those zila panchayats and taluk panchayats where no party has gained a majority.
With agency inputs