Karnataka local body polls: Congress edges past BJP | JD(S) comes third

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy hailed the victory of the coalition parties of Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress following the results of the elections for urban local bodies in the state

On Monday, results for 2,662 of the 2,709 seats were declared with the Congress securing 982 seats and the BJP 929 in the elections that were held on 31 August.

The JD(S) came a distant third with 375 seats and others, including 329 independents, bagging the rest of the seats.

Less than four months after the Assembly election, the Congress on Monday won the most seats in Karnataka’s 105 urban local bodies, pushing the BJP to the second spot, and voicing confidence that a Congress-JD(S) combine will sweep the Lok Sabha polls.

“The Congress winning 982 of the 2,662 civic body seats across the State shows people’s confidence in the party and our coalition government with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S),” State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters here.

“The Congress cannot be written off in Karnataka any more. We (Congress and JD-S) will have a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections which we are confident of winning,” Mr. Rao added.

In the polls for urban bodies across 22 of the State’s 30 districts held on August 31, the Congress has won 982 of the total 2,662 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came second with 929 seats while the JD-S remained far behind with 375 seats.

Independents bagged 329 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 13 and other regional parties and fringe outfits won 34 seats.

While the Congress won majority seats in 10 districts, it was looking at an alliance with JD-S in a few regions to keep the BJP out of power, as it did in the Assembly election in May which threw up a hung verdict, Mr. Rao said.

Even as the BJP won majority seats in seven districts including the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, the JD-S and Congress tie-up will control most of the urban bodies in the State.

In the Assembly election, of the 224 constituencies, the BJP won 104 seats, the Congress 80 and JD-S along with BSP (38).

JD-S leader and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy termed Monday’s results a victory for the coalition government.

“The outcome shows that JD-S and Congress have won the trust of not just the rural electorate but urban voters as well,” Mr. Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

The BJP, on the other hand, blamed the JD-S and Congress for its poor showing.

“The BJP should have won more seats but we could not perform the way we wanted to because of the Congress-JD-S coalition,” BJP State unit President B.S. Yeddyurappa told reporters here.

But the BJP is confident of winning a majority in the Lok Sabha election, he said.

The BJP performed well in its traditional bastions of coastal districts while the Congress retained its position in its strongholds of northern districts.

Polling took place last Friday across 22 districts of the State spread over 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities, 23 town panchayats and 135 wards of three city corporations — Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru.

The polling in 45 seats of Kodagu district’s civic bodies has been postponed due to heavy rains and floods.

In the 2013 elections held for 4,976 seats, the Congress won 1,960 seats, while BJP and JD-S won 905 seats each while Independents bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.

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