Bangalore: In a major boost to the Congress, the party not only emerged victorious in Karnataka urban body elections but also dealt a massive blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by relegating the ruling party to a distant second place. The Congress won three out of seven major city corporations including Bellary, Mangalore and Davanagere; and is the single largest party in Mysore and Gulbarga.
The Congress also routed BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and ended the rule of Reddy brothers in Bellary by decimating their BSR Congress across central Karnataka. Meanwhile, ruling BJP has not been able to gain majority in any of the seven major city corporations, however, is the single largest party in Hubli-Dharwad. JDS has come second in Mysore and Belgaum has gone to Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES).
The Congress, which clearly benefiting from multi-cornered contests, bagged 1,947 wards while the BJP and the JDS of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, share the second position with 906 wards each. Yeddyurappa's KJP stood third with 274 wards.
Meanwhile, Independents with a whopping 776 wards, are bound to play a key part in the ULBs which have thrown up a hung verdict.
Yeddyurappa made little impact with his party having lost in his stronghold of Shimoga. The JDS has held on in the Old Mysore region.
Congress Leader Dinesh Gundurao said the big take away from the results is that the BJP has been rejected by the people of Karnataka and also that BSR Congress has also been wiped off.
"We are extremely happy, Congress is on the upswing, the big takeaway is that BJP has been rejected by the people of Karnataka and also that BSR congress has also been wiped off so we are happy. In assembly polls the results will be more in favour of the congress, in these polls there are too many local factors that come into play and there are many independents also, so if this is the indication in these polls Congress will win a clear majority in the assembly polls," Gundurao said.
Expressing his surprise on the urban local body elections results, Senior BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister Sadanand Gowda said, "As a ruling party we had never thought that the people will give such a result. Unexpected and unpredicted results has come." He further said that the results in the urban local body elections is a setback for the party.
"The party has to look into the matter in detail, certainly it's a great setback for our party. Several people left party, in spite of that we led the government. We are trying to continue with all the development work but the people expect us to take decision at the right time," Gowda said.
Taking a potshot at BJP, KJP leader Dhanajaya Kumar said that the people of Karnataka have shown BJP its proper place. "We are satisfied, we are a nascent party, we set up 2000 candidates and the main purpose was to organise the party and we have got good number of workers, in many of the local bodies without our support there can be no majority. And today the people of Karnataka have shown BJP its proper place.
"Yeddyurappa is also pleased because BJP without Yeddyurappa in Karnataka has no strength. We have no personal animosity with anyone but the fact is that Yeddyurappa has worked so hard for the party and has brought so much success to the party but despite this Yeddyurappa was projected as villain. Just because people sitting in Delhi was nervous of a state leader gaining in stature and also the high command wanted Ananth Kumar to be the CM but he has no mass base, so the people of Karnataka have shown that minus Yeddyurappa what BJP is. So in that way we are really happy," Kumar said.
The Karnataka local polls, which have been billed as semi-finals before the state elects a new Assembly in a couple of months, show that the BJP is finding the going tough and has not been fully able to counter the Yeddyurappa effect.
Around 85 Lakh, which is about 22 per cent of total voters in Karnataka, exercised their right to select representatives for 4976 seats.
The trends and results show that urban voters have rejected BJP and its offshoots KJP and BSR Congress. The Bellary brothers, who had launched the BSR Congress, have been routed in their stronghold. The Congress also won in areas dominated by the JDS.
The results are crucial since they could be an indicator of what will happen in the state elections coming up in two months. Over 200 municipalities including seven city corporations went to the polls on March 7. In the last urban local bodies polls in 2007, of the total 5007 wards, the Congress had come first winning 1606, followed by JDS 1502 and BJP 1180.
With Additional Inputs From PTI
|Congress wins semi-finals|
|Election in 208 urban local bodies in Karnataka of which 7 are city corporations. Totals wards: 4976|
|Independents (More than one-thirds Congress rebels)||776|
|Congress||3 (won in Bellary, Davanagere, Mangalore and single largest in Mysore and Gulbarga)|
|BJP||1 (Single largest in Hubli-Dharwad)|
|Breakup (201 Urban local bodies)|
|Total voters: 85 Lakh (About 22% of total voters in Karnataka); Total votes polled: 65%|