Karnataka district polls end, outcome to decide Yeddyurappa’s fateBy IANS
Saturday, January 1, 2011
BANGALORE - Karnataka Saturday completed the three-phase elections to local governing bodies with the results on Jan 4 likely to decide the fate of land scam-hit Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
In the last phase, polling took place Saturday in Gulbarga district for the 43 zila (district) and 155 taluka (sub-district) panchayats with over 60 percent of the 1.19 million voters exercising their franchise.
“Over 60 percent voting has taken place,” a state Election Commission official told IANS.
Voting took place Dec 26 in 12 districts and on Dec 31 in 17 districts.
Counting is slated for Jan 4. Most of the results for the 1,013 ZP and 3,659 TP seats across the state are expected by noon as electronic voting machines were used for the first time in these polls which are held every five years.
Yeddyurappa, heading the first Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka, is heavily banking on winning majority of ZPs and TPs for continuing in office in the face of charges of favouring kin with prime land in and around Bangalore.
He has been allowed to continue in office by his party central leaders after he convinced them that charges against him would not affect the partys prospects in these polls in rural and semi-urban areas.
The BJP had fared poorly in the 2005 ZP and TP polls though it had emerged the single largest party, with 79 of the 225 seats, in the assembly in the 2004 polls.
Now the party is in power for the first time in south India and has bested the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular in all elections held after the 2008 assembly polls.
The party bagged 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the 2009 polls, won several by-polls to the assembly since 2008 and captured the Bangalore city corporation for the first time in last year’s elections.
Since Yeddyurappa led the party to victory in the assembly and subsequent polls, a poor show in the district elections, coupled with nepotism charges against him, would make it easy for the party leadership to ease him out.
Yeddyurappa has vigorously campaigned for the polls and is confident that BJP will win at least 22 ZPs and over 100 TPs.
It was a three-way contest among BJP, Congress and JD-S in most of the places.
The Congress and JD-S campaign centred mainly on Yeddyurappas nepotism in land allotment.
The BJP’s poor show in these polls would result in heightened pressure on the party not only from the Congress and the JD-S but a section of the party itself to replace the chief minister.
Yedyurappa has survived two rebellions against him - first by two of his ministers who are also mining magnates and the second by 11 legislators of his party and five Independents. The Independents were ministers at that time.
All 16 were subsequently disqualified and have challenged the decision in the high court.