The Congress was leading in Karnataka’s Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections as the vote count progressed on Monday.

Counting on the state’s 105 ULBs began on Monday with the ruling party taking a lead over the main opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The 105 ULBs are divided into 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities and 23 town panchayats.

According to reports, the Congress has won 846 of the total 2,709 seats. The BJP is not far behind with 788 seats in its bag.

The Janata Dal (Secular), which is in power in Karnataka in an alliance with the Congress, has won 307 seats till now while independent candidates have pocketed 277.

Results of 2267 seats of 102 urban local bodies have been announced so far. Polls were held on 31 August.

The elections is the first major contest between the Congress-JD(S) alliance and the BJP after the 2018 Assembly Elections in which the saffron party failed to form a government in spite of emerging as the single largest party.

The ULB polls also come in the midst of a reported power struggle within the ruling alliance.

The BJP has either won or is leading in Belagavi, Dakshin Kannada, Udupi and Chitradurga while the Congress has taken Ballari, a key region dominated by the BJP’s Reddy brothers.

The Congress and JD (S) did not rule out on forming a post-poll alliance to keep the BJP out of power. “In the event of either party not getting majority on its own in the ULB elections, we will have post-poll alliance to rule the local bodies as we did to form the coalition government in the state after the May 12 assembly election threw a hung House with a split verdict,” a JD(S) official told IANS on Saturday.

Polling took place across the 2,633 wards of the 105 ULBs besides 135 wards of the three city corporations of Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru.

A record average of 67.5 per cent voter turnout was registered across the state for the civic polls.

In all, 8,340 candidates, including 2,306 from the Congress, 2,203 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 1,397 from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are in the fray for the ULBs, while 814 contested from the city corporations, including 135 from Congress, 130 from BJP and 129 from JD-S.

In the 2013 ULB elections held in 4,976 seats, the Congress had won 1,960 seats, while BJP and JD-S had won 905 seats each, while Independents bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.