Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy hailed the victory of the coalition parties of Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress following the results of the elections for urban local bodies in the state.
Talking to reporters after Congress-JD(S) together took home a majority of the 2,709 seats for which polls were held, Kumaraswamy said, “City voters normally vote for BJP. But even city voters have shown full support for the coalition government led by Congress and JD(S).”
On Monday, results for 2,662 of the 2,709 seats were declared with the Congress securing 982 seats and the BJP 929 in the elections that were held on 31 August.
The JD(S) came a distant third with 375 seats and others, including 329 independents, bagging the rest of the seats.
In his remarks following the results, JD(S) chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said that the two parties will continue to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a distance stressing on the post-post alliance between the coalition partners even though they fought against each other in the local body polls.
“We have succeeded. JD(S) and Congress will go together to keep BJP at a distance,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said that the result has “silenced all those who have been saying that Congress has weakened”.
State BJP chief and former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, however, admitted that the election results were not as per the expectations.
“Results are not as per our expectation. The overall results satisfy us because we could withstand the money and muscle power used during the election,” he said.
Yeddyurappa said the results would not have any bearing on the popularity of the government because there were many local factors at work. He reiterated the party’s resolve to win 22 or 23 seats out of 28 in Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress has a majority in 10 districts including Ballari, Bidar, Gadag, Mysuru, Uttara Kannada and Raichur. The BJP emerged with a majority in seven districts including the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.
Thus the combined tally of Congress and JD(S) reaches 1,357 giving them a clear edge over the opposition for the control of the 105 ULBs divided into 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities and 23 town panchayats.
These elections were considered the first test of popularity of the Congress-JDS coalition government, formed after the May assembly polls when it yielded a hung verdict.
The BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the assembly polls, but failed to shore up the numbers in its bid to form the government.
The ULB polls were also considered as indicative of the voters’ mood before the next Lok Sabha elections. Compared to its performance in the 2013 urban local bodies elections, BJP has fared far better.
A record average of 67.5 per cent voter turnout was registered across the state for the civic polls.
The polling in 45 seats of Kodagu district’s civic bodies has been postponed due to recent heavy rains and flooding in the region.
In the polls conducted in 2013 for 4,976 seats, the Congress had bagged 1,960 seats and BJP and JD-S 905 seats each.
Elections for the remaining more than 2,300 seats are likely to be held early next year.
(With inputs from agencies.)