BJP bests Congress, JD-S in Karnataka district polls (Third Lead)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

BANGALORE - Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday captured power in 12 of the 30 zila (district) and 68 of the 176 taluka (sub-district) panchayats, far below its ambition of sweeping the year-end polls to the local governing councils.

The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) bagged four zila panchayats (ZPs) each and 31 and 29 taluka panchayats (TPs) respectively. In 10 districts and 48 sub-districts, the verdict was split and the three parties have begun calculations on how to capture power in as many of these as possible to increase their tally.

Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa, battling to save his chair in view of allegations of favouring his close kin with prime land in and around Bangalore, faced a major setback in his home district of Shimoga. The BJP barely managed to bag the zila panchayat as it won just 16 of the 31 seats, Congress taking 13 and JD-S two.

Like Yeddyurappa, his detractors, the Reddy brothers, who are mining barons and ministers in the state, too were in for a shock as the BJP failed to get a majority in the 36-member Bellary zila panchayat. The party won only 18 seats and conceded 17 to the Congress and one to the JD-S.

Bellary ZP was the only one the BJP had won in the 2005 local council polls.

Of the brothers, the younger G. Janardhana Reddy is the tourism minister and the elder G. Karunakara Reddy holds the revenue portfolio. The Reddys face charges of illegal iron ore mining and income tax evasion.

Yeddyurappa, however, expressed satisfaction over the party’s showing in the polls held on Dec 26, 31 and Jan 1.

“The results have vindicated people’s support to our government’s development programmes. They have given a befitting reply to the baseless allegations of the opposition. The results are beyond the party’s expectations,” he told reporters.

The chief minister claimed that corruption and land scams allegations against him and the government had not affected the party’s performance.

“At least now the Congress and JD-S should stop levelling charges against the government and allow it to concentrate on development,” he said.

“Earlier, the BJP was considered an urban-based party. These results have shown that the BJP has a huge rural base,” the chief minister said.

Yeddyurappa and state party chief K.S. Eshwarappa had been asserting that BJP would capture at least 20 of the 30 district councils and over 100 of the 176 sub-district councils.

The Congress, though putting up a poor show compared to the 2005 ZP and TP polls when it was a clear winner, hailed its performance in Bellary and Shimoga.

State unit president G. Parameshwara and central Labour Minister Mallikharjun Kharge said the BJP’s show in the two districts considered its stronghold showed “people’s anger over corruption in the government”.

The JD-S also expressed satisfaction at its show. The results had shown “how far removed the BJP was from reality. Where is the sweep it was claiming?” a JD-S spokesperson asked.

The BJP, Congress and JD-S were locked in a three-way fight in a majority of the 1,013 zila and 3,659 taluka panchayat seats.

These are the first elections to the local governing councils after the BJP came to power in the state in May 2008.

Over 65 percent of the 21 million voters had cast their ballots and counting was taken up at 171 centres at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Filed under: Politics

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