Minorities helped Congress win civic polls: Karnataka CM

Published on Dec 31, 2021 10:57 PM IST

Hours after the Congress overtook the BJP in the urban local body (ULB) election results in Karnataka, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai was in a defensive mood on Friday claiming a high number of minorities in these 58 ULBs had resulted in the BJP not getting as many seats as expected.

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed a high number of minorities in 58 urban local bodies had resulted in the BJP not getting as many seats as expected in the elections. (PTI)
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed a high number of minorities in 58 urban local bodies had resulted in the BJP not getting as many seats as expected in the elections. (PTI)
By, Bengaluru

Hours after the Congress overtook the BJP in the urban local body (ULB) election results in Karnataka, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai was in a defensive mood on Friday claiming a high number of minorities in these 58 ULBs had resulted in the BJP not getting as many seats as expected.

“If you look at the numbers, our performance has increased in this election compared to last time, though it should have been higher. Further, in these areas, the minorities are in large numbers. We have not won these areas in the past, minorities are around 65% in these areas,” Bommai told reporters.

Party insiders said despite his defence, it is the chief minister, who is feeling the pressure of the UBL election results. In all three elections held in Karnataka since Bommai took charge as chief minister in July, the BJP’s performance has been poor. In three municipal corporations in September, the BJP won the Belagavi corporation but failed to get the numbers in Hubbali-Dharwad and Kalaburagi.

In the bypolls to two assembly seats in November Srinivas Mane, the Congress candidate, won after he secured 87,490 votes and 50.95% of the vote, defeating Shivaraj Sajjanar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who secured 80,117 votes.

Soon after this, the chief minister, who earlier claimed that the bypoll will be an indicator of the 2023 polls in the state, walked back his earlier statement. “These elections are fought on that particular time and issues so it doesn’t give a verdict to the entire thing. I have taken this election setback very seriously,” Bommai said.

Even in the MLC elections, the BJP fell short of the majority and stood tied with the Congress, winning 11 seats. “The poor performance in the election always trumps anything he does has the Chief Minister. Even though he is defending the party’s performance in UBL elections, he is certainly under pressure to prove himself,” said a BJP legislator, who had served as minister earlier.

Even in the UBL elections, Bommai suffered a personal setback. The saffron party lost both ULBs in Haveri, Bommai’s hometown, to the Congress. In the 23-seat town municipal council of Bankapur in Shiggaon, Haveri, (Bommai’s home constituency) the Congress won 14 seats while BJP only managed to win seven seats. “When the chief minister is not able to ensure victory in the bypoll and UBL elections in his own constituency and district, there are bound to be questioned in the future,” added the BJP leader.

For Congress, on the other hand, victories in recent times have been a morale boost. KPCC president DK Shivakumar said the BJP’s claims that they have done well are “laughable”.

“The BJP is in power in the state and they are not able to win more seats than the Opposition in the ULB election. This only means that people are against the BJP. There is no question about it,” Shivakumar told HT.

He said the Congress has managed to win ULBs seats that were either produced a hung verdict or favoured the BJP in previous elections. “Out vote share in the election was 42.06% and the BJP’s vote share was 36%. This tells the reality on the ground,” he added.

The Congress secured 202 out of the 441 seats in town municipal councils while the BJP won 176 and JD(S) won 21, less than the 43 seats won by independents and other candidates. In the 577 seats in town panchayats too, the Congress held the upper hand, clinching 237 seats. The BJP won 191 while the JD(S) won just 12.

In terms of capturing the local bodies through the majority, the Congress secured a majority in 20 ULBs while the BJP won 15 and the JD(S) has just won one ULB at Bidadi. The rest of the ULBs have thrown mixed results with no party being able to get a majority. In three ULBs, the support of JD(S) is crucial for either the BJP or the Congress to secure a majority.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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