Pulling down the curtains on the boasts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make the state of Karnataka ‘Congress-free’, the people of the 63 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) that went to poll on May 29 have overwhelmingly voted for the Congress. Results were declared on May 31.
Unlike in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) contested separately in a total of 1,361 seats, spread across eight city municipal councils, 33 town municipal councils and 22 town panchayats.
While the Congress won 509 seats, JD(S) won 174 seats, and BJP 366 seats while independent candidates got 160 seats. The Congress had performed well in the elections conducted in 2018 in a total of 108 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Out of the total 2,662 seats, the Congress had won 982 seats, the BJP 929 and the JD(S) 375.
As seen, the difference between the seats won by the Congress and the BJP was marginal last year, compared to the elections this year where the difference is more. These election results, just after the results of general elections, are being seen as a moral booster for the Congress, which managed to gain only 1 seat in the general elections while the BJP won 25 and the JD(S) won 1 seat. Ever since the Congress-JD(S) coalition government was formed in May last year, there have been rumours, conspiracy theories and speculations that the coalition government is going to collapse. The BJP in the state has been trying their best to make this possible by causing defection.
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These speculations seemed to be credible after the results in the general elections, as the Congress had some disgruntled MLAs. The Congress party had called for a Karnataka Congress Legislature Party meeting on May 29, 2019. Out of its total 79 MLAs, it is reported that 72 of them attended. Out of the seven missing MLAs, the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the media that apart from Ramesh Jarkiholi and Roshan Baig, all of the other five missing MLAs had explanations for their absence in the meeting.
Speaking to NDTV, Dinesh Gundu Rao, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief, had said, “Look at the results. The Congress has done very well. We have come out as the number one party. Out of the 1,300 seats, we have won more than 500. It goes to show that at the grassroots level, the party is very strong.”
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“Whatever may have happened in the Lok Sabha election, this has happened just a few days after that. And whatever the BJP has been talking that the Congress is finished, BJP should have come first and won 60 per cent of the seats. But it was the reverse. The BJP was able to win just 20 per cent of the seats. So it is a wonderful result. It gave us a big boost.”
Rao also observed that in the upcoming zilla panchayat, taluk panchayat and gram panchayat elections, the Congress and JD(S) will yet again be contesting separately.