Vastavam web: Establishing a slight edge over BJP in a closely fought race in urban local bodies polls in Karnataka, the Congress is set to gain control of a majority of the ULBs, teaming up with its ruling coalition partner JDS. The Congress has secured 982 seats and the BJP 929 in the elections held Saturday, while JD(S) came a distant third with 375 seats, according to the state election commission results.
The others, including 329 independents, bagged the rest of the seats in the three-way race with Congress and JDS fighting against each other, despite being coalition partners. Results for 2,662 of the 2,709 seats for which polls were held have been declared.
With the combined strength of Congress and JD(S) securing 1,357 seats, they enjoy a clear edge over the BJP to seize control of a majority of the ULBs. These elections were considered the first test of popularity of the Congress-JDS coalition government, which was formed post-May assembly polls when it yielded a hung verdict. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the assembly polls, but failed to shore up the numbers in its bid to form the government.
In the polls then conducted for 4,976 seats, the Congress had bagged 1,960 seats and BJP and JD-S 905 seats each. Elections for the remaining more than 2,300 seats is likely be held early next year. Polls to Kodagu urban local bodies has been withhelddue to the recent floods in the district. Reiterating the JD(S) and Congress’ resolve,former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda said, “Whereverwe can form a coalition government to keep the BJP out ofpower, we will certainly do that.” “The election results have silenced all those who have been saying that Congress has weakened, that it was lagging behind and its popularity was diminishing,” said an upbeat state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao.
State BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa admitted that the election results were not as per the expectations. “Results are not as per our expectation. The overall results satisfy us because we could withstand the money and muscle power used during the election,” he said. He reiterated the party’s resolve to win 22 or 23 seats out of 28 in Lok Sabha polls.
The ULB results show that the Congress, BJP and JDS have broadly held on to their position secured in the assembly polls. The results were marred by an ugly incident in Tumakuru where a Congress candidate and his nine supporters were injured in a suspected acid attack during a march to celebrate his victory. Inayatullah Khan, who won the election from ward No.16 in Tumakuru around 70 km from Bengaluru, was taking out a victory procession in the morning when an unidentified person sprayed some liquid on the crowd and fled the scene, police said. They suffered minor injuries, among whom Khan had the maximum burns on his face, Tumakaru Superintendent of Police Divya V Gopinath said. Doctors said the liquid might be some low-intensity acid like bathroom cleaner, the SP said.