In closely-fought Karnataka civic polls, Congress leads the pack but no clear winner

The Congress and HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), which run a coalition government in Karnataka, will together control most civic bodies in the state.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2018 20:07 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka urban body election,Karnataka,BJP
Congress party workers celebrate party’s win in Karnataka civic body polls, in Mysuru on September 3.(PTI Photo)

Outcome of elections held to 105 urban local bodies in Karnataka on Monday reflected the assembly election results in throwing up a mixed bag, with no party emerging as a clear winner.

As per data put out by the Karnataka State Election Commission, of the 105 ULBs, the Congress won a clear majority in 37 ULBs, the BJP in 31, the JD(S) in 12 and the Congress-JD(S) alliance together won a majority in 12 other ULBs. There were hung mandates in 13 ULBs.

Looking at the state-wide data, out of 2,664 wards across 22 districts, the Congress won 982 wards, with the BJP coming a close second winning 929, and the JD(S) finishing a distant third, winning 375 wards.

While alliance partners Congress, JD(S) and the Bahujan Samaj Party decided to fight independently, former chief minister Siddaramaiah announced on Friday that the parties would form alliances in ULBs, where there was a hung mandate.

For the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the state assembly elections, there were some reasons to cheer, not least its performance in some ULBs in the southern districts, where the Congress and JD(S) had been the dominant players. The party continued its stellar performance in the coastal districts, winning seven of the 15 ULBs. Even in the central districts, the BJP won five of the seven ULBs.

The Congress, meanwhile, performed well in its stronghold in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, where it won 13 of the 24 ULBs. In the Mumbai-Karnataka region, too, the Congress managed to pip the BJP, winning majorities in 18 of the 38 ULBs, against the BJP’s tally of 13.

However, in the southern region it was all JD(S), with the party sweeping the region, winning 12 of the 21 ULBs there. In fact, in the districts of Hassan and Mandya, it continued its outstanding performance winning eight of the 10 ULBs.

Among the three city corporations of Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru, the BJP performed best, although it could only manage a majority in Shivamogga, a traditional stronghold. In Mysuru city, it pulled up a surprise by winning 22 wards, but could not manage a victory, with the Congress-JD(S) alliance getting a comfortable majority.

In Tumakuru city, too, the BJP managed to win 12 of the 35 wards, but the alliance partners managed to win 10 seats each, ensuring that they can cobble together a majority.

BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa issued a statement hailing the party’s showing as impressive, highlighting its victory in the Shivamogga city corporation. “We have substantially increased our tally in hundreds of ULBs across the state. This is proof of the BJP continuing to enjoy the support and confidence of the people,” he said.

Yeddyurappa added that there was no bearing of these polls on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “The outcome of this ULB elections is neither an indication nor trend-setter for the Lok Sabha elections. Parliamentary elections are fought on a different note,” he said.

Meanwhile, JD(S) leader and the state’s cooperation minister Bandeppa Kashempur said the results showed people were very pleased with the coalition government. “The coalition government has won the confidence of the people of the state and it is for this reason that the JD(S) has won in many ULBs. This proves that ours is a secure government,” he said.

“The BJP had claimed that it would follow up on its assembly election showing, but this shows that the people trust the people. These results are heartening for the party, and all talks of the Congress becoming weaker have been proved to be untrue,” Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao said.

On the Congress-JD(S) tie-up, Rao said it was made clear before the polls that the two would form alliances wherever there was a hung verdict. “If we had contested together the BJP would have lost everywhere but we respected the sentiments of our party workers and contested the elections independently,” he said.

Political analyst Narendar Pani, faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, said the results reflected the state assembly election results. “There is no clear mandate and none of the three parties can claim that the results favour them, except for the fact that it is the Congress that has performed better than the other, unlike in the assembly polls where the BJP did better. However, locally these polls will have an impact on the parties,” he said.

Pani said these results were not likely to have a bearing on the Lok Sabha polls. “Although it might have implications for the seat sharing between the Congress and the JD(S). The JD(S) might not be able to justify its demand of getting 10 seats out of 28 with these results,” he said.

First Published: Sep 03, 2018 20:05 IST