Won’t allow ‘opportunistic alliance’ to block progress: Amit Shah after Congress wins Karnataka local polls
The Congress and its ally, the Janata Dal (Secular), overtook the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the elections for Karnataka’s 105 urban local bodies, which were seen as a test for the coalition government formed in May following a hung verdict in the assembly polls.
The Congress said the result reflected the voters’ confidence on the coalition government and the BJP claimed that the outcome highlighted people’s dissatisfaction against the “unholy alliance” between the JD(S) and the grand old party.
After the Congress emerged as the single largest outfit in the local body polls, it said the Karnataka’s citizens have accepted the policies of the Congress-JD(S) government in the state.
“People of Karnataka have once again reposed their faith in Congress by making it the No.1 party in Urban Local Bodies. People have accepted development policies of Congress+JDS Govt & have rejected Jumlas of BJP. Many thanks to every @INCKarnataka worker!” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
The president of Congress’ state unit Dinesh Gundu Rao thanked the voters. “These results are heartening for the party, and all talks of the Congress becoming weaker have been proved to be untrue,” he said.
Rao said it was made clear before the polls that the Congress and JD(S) 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.
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that voters in the cities supported the coalition government. “City voters normally vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but with the outcome of this result (it indicates that) even city voters have shown full support to the coalition government led by the Congress and the JD(S),” Kumaraswamy said.
Kumaraswamy’s father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda also spoke on the same lines saying, “We have succeeded. The JD(S) and the Congress will go together to keep the BJP at a distance.”
Of the 105 ULBs, the Congress won a clear majority in 37 ULBs, the BJP in 31 and the JD(S) in 12, according to the state election commission. The Congress-JD(S) combine won majorities in 12 other ULBs, while 13 of them threw up hung mandates. Elections were held for three city corporations, 29 city municipal councils (CMC), 52 town municipal councils (TMC) and 20 town panchayats (TP).
Out of the 2,664 wards across 22 districts, the Congress won 982 wards, with the BJP coming a close second with 929 seats and the JD(S) a distant third with 375 wards, official figures showed. The others, including 329 independent candidates, bagged the remaining seats. Elections for the remaining seats, totalling to more than 2,300, are likely be held early next year.
The BJP continued an impressive performance in the coastal districts, winning seven of the 15 ULBs. In the central districts, the BJP won five of the seven ULBs. The party performed better compared to the previous ULB elections in 2013. In the previous polls conducted for 4,976 seats, the Congress had bagged 1,960 seats and BJP and JD-S 905 seats each.
The Congress 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.
The JD(S) swept the southern region, winning 12 of the 21 ULBs. It continued impressive performances in the districts of Hassan and Mandya, winning eight of the 10 ULBs.
BJP president Amit Shah said his party’s performance was “stupendous” and that the outcome highlighted people’s dissatisfaction against the “unholy alliance” between the JD(S) and the Congress.
“I heartily thank our sisters and brothers of Karnataka for their trust and continued support for the BJP. I want to assure the people of Karnataka that this opportunistic alliance in state won’t come in the way of PM @narendramodi and BJP working for the betterment of the state,” Shah tweeted.
The BJP’s state president BS Yeddyurappa also said the party’s showing was impressive. “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 also blamed Karnataka’s ruling coalition partners for its defeat in the state civic polls held across 22 districts. “The BJP should have won more seats but we could not perform the way we wanted to because of the Congress-JD(S) coalition,” Yeddyurappa said.
He said his party, however, is confident of winning a majority in the Lok Sabha election scheduled to be held next year. “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.
Yeddyurappa also highlighted his party’s victory in the Shivamogga city corporation. In the three city corporations of Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru, the BJP performed the best, though it could only manage a majority in Shivamogga, its traditional stronghold.
“Just wait for a month and see what happens to this government,” he said.