That the results of the local city bodies of Karnataka announced on Thursday has come as a blow to BJP, where Congress generally shows up in front, but especially in small towns. All three main parties had predicted the election as a semi-final for the parliamentary elections in 2023, and if trends hold, the horizon is bleak for JD (S).
The election was held on December 27 in 58 city bodies divided into 20 districts in 1,184 departments. Congress won 501 of the chambers, BJP 433 and JD (S) 45, while 195 chambers were won by independents. Moreover Aam Aadmi Party marked its debut in Karnataka with a seat, while AIMIM and India’s Social Democratic Party won two and six respectively.
With more plaintiffs to his post, the loss will leave Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai even more vulnerable. This is the third choice he faces takes over as CM from BS Yediyurappa. Of the three, the BJP lost the Sindagi Assembly in its home district, although Bommai led the party to 37 seats in the Legislative Council with 75 members compared to the 26th Congress. But Thursday’s result will erase the Council’s memory Belagavi.
While the BJP led the five municipal corporations, winning 66 out of 166 branches compared to the congressional 62 and JD (S)’s 12, it had surpassed the city’s municipal and urban panchayats. Of the 441 seats in the urban municipalities, Congress got 202 and BJP 176. In city panchayats, Congress got 237 and BJP 191 out of 577 seats.
In Bommai’s Shiggaon Assembly constituency, Congress won 14 of the 23 chambers, doubling BJP’s 7. The remaining two chambers were won by independents.
A source in the BJP admitted that while the congress went completely out, the party, which has been splintering and quarreling since Yediyurappa’s departure, did not make the necessary efforts. It is also a blow to the BJP, given that it comes in the wake of its government’s emphasis on measures such as the anti-conversion law, in the midst of attacks on minorities.
In its response to the results, Bommai said that despite the fact that many of the local bodies had a large population of minorities, the BJP had defied the expectations of doing so in a good way. And that the BJP had done well in areas where the party had no presence before.
Former CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the results showed the BJP could not win by monetary power alone and people had rejected its “hopeless governance”.
Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar said: “The latest election results indicate a wave of Congress in the state. Without a doubt, Congress will win the election to the Assembly in 2023.” He said the results also confirm “the popularity of congressional ideology”.
The results are a personal boost for Shivakumar at a time when he is in a leadership battle with Siddaramaiah. The big question mark is whether Congress can build on this.
For JD (S), it is difficult to find a golden edge besides the Bidadi town panchayat, which the party won in a prestigious match between HD Kumaraswamy and DK Shivakumar, and the Ramanagara district. While its strongholds like Hassan and Mandya did not see elections, the results show that it has not gained ground in other areas.
The party was coped with the absence of organization as well as the lack of interest shown by its leaders during the session of the assembly. JD (S) chief HD Kumaraswamy was absent most days.
Kumaraswamy claimed it was wrong to write off JD (S) yet. “Those who call the JD (S) a sinking ship, they once had power in the same ship (as a hint to Congress). The same party leader is now devoted to Operation Hastha (hand) to pull the JD (S) “Candidates for his side. People will show what JD (S) can do in the 2023 general election,” he said.
And while all eyes are on the AAP in Punjab and Goa, where it’s catching its chances, it quietly won a spot here in the newly formed Vijayanagar district.