Karnataka ULB polls: Congress rides urban wave, JD(S) hangs on

Bengaluru: After a severe blow in the recent Assembly polls when it lost more than 40 seats, the Congress party made a remarkable comeback in the prestigious elections to nab more than a hundred urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state, winning 946 of the 2,709 seats for which polls were held with the saffron party coming second with 875 and the JD (S) at third place with 345 seats.   Of the three city corporations which faced the polls, the BJP won Shivamogga –  the hometown of its state president B.S. Yeddyurappa but could not get  a clear majority in Tumakuru and Mysuru where it emerged as the single largest party.

The Congress and JD(S) are likely to strike a pact to come to power in both corporations like they did to form a coalition and frustrate the BJP's attempt to seize power after the Assembly polls.       The ULB polls cannot be considered a definite indicator of the mood of the people as local issues tend to predominate but with parliament elections barely nine months away, the results prove that the JD(S)-Congress coalition has been able to push the BJP on the back foot after it came so close to power winning more than a hundred seats in the Assembly polls.  In fact the BJP lost in strongholds like Haveri, Hukkeri  in Mumbai-Karnataka and in several places in Hyderabad-Karnataka which may force a serious rethink of its policies and priorities ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. 

As for the performance of the coalition partners, they fought the polls separately and still managed to grab a huge number of seats  raising the pertinent question- what if they had joined hands particularly in the Old Mysuru region where both parties have a strong presence?   Reacting to the results,  BJP state president Yeddyurappa admitted that the results are not up to expectations but tried to brush aside the not so impressive show remarking that these polls could not be a trendsetter for the Lok Sabha elections which are fought on different issues.  

KPCC president, Dinesh Gundurao said the poll outcome is a fitting reply to those who have been claiming that the Congress has become weak in the state. "Former CM Siddaramaiah and former PM H.D. Deve Gowda have made it clear that the Congress and JD (S) will come together to take control of the administration in towns and cities which witnessed a fractured verdict," he said.  

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