After a close fight with the BJP, the Congress Monday gained control over a majority of the urban local bodies (ULB) in Karnataka by bagging 982 out of 2,662 seats, including the northern region of the state. While the party and Janata Dal (Secular) contested the polls separately, despite being in coalition, they have decided to go for a tie-up post-election in the urban bodies.
According to the state election commission, BJP secured 929 seats while JD(S) won 375 seats in the elections which were held on August 31. The remaining seats were bagged by the independent candidates and others. Read HIGHLIGHTS here.
Having attained 1,357 seats in total, the Congress and JD(S) have a clear edge over the saffron party and control over the ULBs.
Welcoming the results, Karnataka Chief Minister City HD Kumaraswamy told ANI, “Voters in the city usually vote for BJP but with the outcome of this result, now even they have shown full support for the coalition government led by Congress and JD(S).”
City voters normally vote for BJP, but with the outcome of this result, now even city voters have shown full support for the coalition govt led by Congress & JDS: HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka CM, on #KarnatakaLocalBodyElections results pic.twitter.com/BoaDsQAoVF
— ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2018
JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda said, “We have succeeded. The JD(S) and Congress will work together to keep BJP at a distance.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also congratulated the Karnataka workers and said the results showed that the people had rejected the “jumlas of BJP”. “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 and JDS Govt and have rejected Jumlas of BJP. Many thanks to every Karnataka Congress worker,” he tweeted.
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.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) September 3, 2018
Pinning the blame on the coalition partners for the party’s loss, BJP state unit President BS Yeddyurappa said, “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 added that the party, however, is confident of winning a majority in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. “People’s mandate is with the BJP and we are confident of a majority in the next year’s general election,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Congress candidate and his nine supporters were injured in a suspected acid attack during a victory march in Tumakuru, around 70 km from Bengaluru. Inayatullah Khan, who won the election from ward No. 16 in Tumakuru, sustained injuries after an unidentified person sprayed some liquid on the crowd and fled the scene, police said.
Around 10 people felt a burning sensation and were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were administered first-aid. They suffered minor injuries, among which Khan had the maximum burns on his face, Tumakaru Superintendent of Police (SP) Divya V Gopinath said.
A total of 8,340 candidates, including 2,306 from the Congress, 2,203 from the BJP and 1,397 from the JD-S had contested in the urban local body elections. The polls had registered a record turnout of 68 per cent for elections to the 2,709 civic wards spanning 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities, 23 town panchayats and 135 wards at Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru city corporations.
In the 2013 urban local bodies elections held in 4,976 seats, the Congress had won 1,960 seats, while the BJP and the JD-S had won 905 seats each, and Independents had bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.
The August 31 elections were considered a popular test of the coalition government which was formed post-May assembly polls which had yielded a hung verdict and also was indicative of the voters’ mood before the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP had ended up as the single largest party in the assembly polls but had failed to gather numbers to form the government, which paved the way for the Congress and JD(S) to stitch an alliance and take over the reins of administration.
(WIth PTI inputs)