December 28, 2005
Leaving coalition partner, Deve Gowda’s JD (S) behind, the Congress in Karnataka is heading for a big win in the Taluk Panchayat and Zila Panchayat polls, creating possibilities of mid-term polls.
In results announced till 8pm today, Congress bagged 53 per cent of the 1598 Taluk Panchayat seats declared, while JD(S) and BJP won on 25 per cent and 18 per cent seats, respectively. Congress candidates also won on 43 per cent of the 250 Zila Panchayat seats whose results were declared until late evening, while JD(S) and BJP won 23 and 18 per cent seats, respectively. The Congress seemed headed for control of at least 16 of the state’s 27 Zila Panchayats.
The Congress resurgence is being attributed to the Siddaramaiah factor. Backward classes leader and former Deputy CM Siddaramaiah, who left the JD(S) earlier this year following differences with Gowda and his sons, contested a small number of seats under the All India Progressive Janata Dal banner and supported Congress candidates on other seats. AIPJD candidates bagged three per cent Taluk Panchayat seats.
The strong Congress show is expected to create pressure from within the party to sever ties with Gowda’s party and push for mid-term polls. The Congress has constantly functioned under JD(S) shadow in the 19-month-old coalition.
Congress CM Dharam Singh today said Party chief Sonia Gandhi would decide the fate of the coalition. ‘‘Next year, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal will go to polls. We have come together to prevent certain forces from coming to power. Sonia Gandhi will take a decision. We will abide by that,’’ he said.
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