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Thumping victory for Congress in Karnataka local body polls, including in CM Bommai’s hometown

Polls were held in 58 urban local bodies across 20 districts. Of 1,184 wards in town and city municipal councils & town panchayats, Congress bagged 501 while ruling BJP won 433.

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Bengaluru: A thumping victory in the Karnataka urban local body election results announced Thursday has come as a major shot in the arm for the Congress.

Elections were held in 58 urban local bodies (ULBs) across 20 districts of the BJP-ruled state. Of the 1,184 wards that went to the polls across town municipal councils, town panchayats and city municipal councils, the Congress bagged the most number of seats (501), while BJP won 433. 

The Janata Dal (Secular) won 45 seats, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) won six and independent candidates won 195 seats. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Janata Party won a seat each. AAP won a ward in Hospete of Vijayanagara district. 

Significantly, the BJP lost both ULBs in Haveri, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s hometown, to the Congress.

While there is still scope for the Congress and BJP to woo independent winners and strengthen their positions in each of the ULBs, results of the polls have favoured the Congress.

Congress leaders have hailed the win as an “indicator” of the people’s impression of the Bommai-led BJP government.

“Congress winning more seats compared to the ruling BJP is the reflection of their hopeless governance. This is an indication of what we can expect in the eventual general elections,” tweeted Congress legislature party chief and leader of the opposition in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah. 

“This result has proved that there is a strong wave in the favour of Congress,” added the former chief minister.

Meanwhile, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar tweeted: “While urban local body election results cannot be a yardstick for future elections, these results confirm the popularity of Congress ideology and of our people who believe in it.”

Chief Minister Bommai said the BJP has not been faring well in areas that have “a concentration of minority community voters”.

“If you observe, as these places have concentration of minority community voters, we have not been getting good results, but this time due to efforts, in places like Gadag and others, we have got success,” PTI quoted him as saying.

Former chief minister and BJP leader B.S. Yediyurappa took to his social media pages to congratulate the winners.

“I wholeheartedly thank the voters who elected our party candidates in the ULB polls. My congratulations to all winning candidates, leaders and office bearers,” he tweeted. 

Multiple calls to various BJP leaders including state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel for a comment on the results went unanswered. 

Also Read: ‘Posts, positions, life not permanent’: Bommai’s emotional speech bares Karnataka BJP infighting

Breaking down the results

The Congress has managed to wrestle many ULBs that had either produced a hung verdict or favoured the BJP in previous elections. It registered a total vote share of 42.06 per cent across the ULBs while BJP’s vote share stood at 36.90 per cent. The JD(S) registered 3.80 per cent vote share while independents got 17.22 per cent of the votes.

The Congress secured 202 out of the 441 seats in town municipal councils while BJP won 176 and JD(S) won 21, less than the 43 seats won by independents and other candidates.

In the 577 seats in town panchayats too, the Congress held the upper hand, clinching 237 seats. The BJP won 191 while the JD(S) won just 12.

The BJP, however, landed the highest number of seats among city municipal councils 66 of a total 166, while the Congress won 62. Other victors included 26 independent candidates and 12 from the JD(S).

In bypolls held to one ward each in eight districts, the Congress won four seats while BJP and SDPI both won a seat each. Two seats were won by independent candidates.

BJP’s electoral fate under Bommai

In the three elections held in Karnataka ever since Bommai took charge as chief minister in July, the party’s performance has been sub-par. In elections held to three municipal corporations in September, the party won the Belagavi corporation, but fell short in two others (Hubbali-Dharwad and Kalaburagi). 

In the bypolls to two assembly seats in November, the BJP lost CM Bommai’s home turf and legacy seat Hangal, while bagging Sindagi.

In the recently concluded MLC elections, although the BJP improved on its previous tally, it fell short of majority and stood tied with the Congress, winning 11 seats. The party had estimated it would win 15-16 seats.

This time around, the BJP lost both ULBs in Haveri, Bommai’s hometown, to the Congress.

In the 23-seat town municipal council of Bankapur in Shiggaon, Haveri, the Congress won 14 seats while BJP only managed to bag seven. Shiggaon is Bommai’s constituency. 

In the town panchayat of Guttal in Haveri, the BJP won six of 18 seats while Congress won 11.

On the BJP’s defeat in his constituency, PTI quoted CM Bommai as saying, “We had never won there (in Bankapur), minority voters are 65 per cent, it won’t be right for me to say more. Same is the case with Guttal.”

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: ‘Posts, positions, life not permanent’: Bommai’s emotional speech bares Karnataka BJP infighting



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