Poor handling of pandemic cited as a reason for the ruling party’s setback
The Opposition Congress has registered a spectacular victory in the elections held to 10 urban local bodies (ULBs) in Karnataka by securing a majority of the seats in six ULBs, including the Ballari City Corporation, while the JD(S) managed to bag two ULBs.
The ruling BJP performed poorly by securing victory only in the Madikeri City Municipal Council (CMC). No party secured a majority of seats in the Bidar CMC. The Congress emerged as the single-largest party by winning 15 wards out of the 33 in Bidar.
In the elections held to 263 wards, the Congress emerged victorious in 120 wards, the JD(S) in 66, and the BJP in 57. Others won in 20 wards.
It is argued that bad handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the BJP government and increased sufferings of the people in urban areas owing to State road transport corporation employees’ strike in the run-up to the campaign were the major reasons for the setback to the ruling party in the elections, which were held on April 27, in the middle of the pandemic.
The BJP lost two ULBs of Bhadravati and Thirthahalli in Shivamogga, the home district of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa.
The Congress secured power in the Ballari City Corporation, CMCs of Ramanagaram and Bhadravati; town municipal council of Belur in Hassan district, and town panchayats of Thirthahalli and Gudibande (Chickballapur district).
Victory in the Ramanagaram CMC seems to indicate the popularity of KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar and his brother and MP D.K. Suresh in the district. The JD(S) secured a majority of seats in the Channapatna CMC in Ramanagaram district and Vijayapura Town Municipal Council (TMC) in Devanahalli taluk. Defeat in Channapatna has been considered as a loss of face to Tourism Minister C.P. Yogeshwar.
The ruling BJP retained its traditional bastion of Madikeri by securing 16 wards out of the 23. The Social Democratic Party of India won five wards.
In the Ballari City Corporation, the Congress bagged 21 wards, while the BJP secured 13 and the JD(S) drew blank. The Independents won in five wards. In the elections held to 33 wards of the Bidar CMC, the Congress emerged as the single-largest party with 15 seats, the BJP got nine, the JD(S) seven, and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen and the Aam Aadmi Party won one seat each. The Congress is likely to come to power in Bidar with the support of the AIMIM and the AAP.
The Congress won the byelection held to one ward of the Hallikheda TMC in Humnabad, while an Independent won in one ward of the Hirekerur Town Panchayat.
In a tweet, Mr. Shivakumar said, “I request @INCKarnataka party workers and leaders not to celebrate in any way and continue assisting the people the best they can in this national health emergency”.
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