New Delhi: In what was anticipated as a crucial test for the coalition, the Congress-JDS alliance has secured a majority of seats in the Urban local bodies (ULB) elections which were held on August 31 in the state. The Congress bagged 982 out of 2,662 contested seats thereby becoming the largest party in the elections. BJP secured a distant second position with 929 seats.
While the party and Janata Dal (Secular) contested the polls separately, despite being in coalition, they have decided to go for a tie-up post-election in the urban bodies.The party won a total of 325 seats.
Welcoming the results, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy told ANI, “Voters in the city usually vote for BJP but with the outcome of this result, now even they have shown full support for the coalition government led by Congress and JD(S).”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also congratulated the Karnataka workers and said the results showed that the people had rejected the “jumlas of BJP”. “People of Karnataka have once again reposed their faith in Congress by making it the No. 1 party in Urban Local Bodies. People have accepted development policies of Congress and JDS Govt and have rejected Jumlas of BJP. Many thanks to every Karnataka Congress worker,” he tweeted.
Despite failing to secure a majority, the BJP performed substantially well, particularly in areas like Bagalkote where BJP won 161 wards out of 312; in Belagavi, the BJP won 104 wards, higher than the Congress, which won 85, but lower than independents, who won 144 of the 343 wards. It also continued its strong performance in central Karnataka where it won 66 out of 148 wards. Congress secured 44 seats in this area.
BJP state unit President BS Yeddyurappa said, “The BJP should have won more seats but we could not perform the way we wanted to because of the Congress-JD(S) coalition.”
Yeddyurappa added that the party, however, is confident of winning a majority in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. “People’s mandate is with the BJP and we are confident of a majority in the next year’s general election,” he said.
The Congress secured a thumping majority in its stronghold Hyderabad-Karnataka region where it secured 299 wards out of 595. The JD(S), though, proved its might in its traditional strongholds of Hassan, Mandya and Tumakuru districts. While in Hassan, the JD(S) won 91 out of 135 wards, in Mandya it won 64 out of 117 wards, and in Tumakuru it won 51 out of 115 wards.
JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, congratulated the party workers of Congress and JD(S) and said, “We have succeeded. The JD(S) and Congress will work together to keep BJP at a distance.”