Bengaluru: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka received a shot in the arm in the elections to the three municipal corporations by getting a clear majority in Belagavi, emerged as the single largest party in Hubballi-Dharwad and finished a close second in Kalaburagi.
In the Doddaballapur City Municipal Council election in Bengaluru rural district, the BJP emerged as the single largest party while Congress got the absolute majority in Tarikere Town Municipal Council in Chikkamagaluru district.
An elated Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who dubbed the election results as a clean sweep in favour of his month-old government in the ‘sample test’, said the BJP will come to power in all the three municipal corporations. The elections took place on September 3 and the results were announced on Monday.
According to the Karnataka State Election Commission officials, in the 58-seat Belagavi, the BJP won 35, Congress 10, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) one and 12 independents.
In 82-seat Hubballi-Dharwad municipal corporation, BJP won 39 seats, Congress 33, AIMIM 3, JD(S) 1, independents six. In Kalaburagi municipal corporation, the elections took place for 55 seats, out of which Congress won 27, BJP 23, JD(S) 4 and independent one seat. In 31-seat Doddaballapura CMC in Bengaluru rural district City, the BJP won 12 seats, Congress 9, JD(S) 7 and three independents. In Tarikere TMC in Chikkamagaluru, Congress won 15 seats, seven independents and one BJP.
Speaking to reporters, a jubilant Bommai said, “This was almost like a sample test after one month of my taking charge of the office. Out of the three, we have got a clear majority in two municipal corporations and in the third also we are in the close race but we are going to make a majority there also.”
He said all the three corporations will have BJP mayors. Bommai congratulated the BJP ministers, MLAs and leaders who toiled hard for the elections in Belagavi.
“For the first time in history, the BJP is holding the majority and we will have our own mayor. The MES would have controlled it otherwise,” the Chief Minister said.
He said this was a good sign for the government as well as Karnataka. Bommai said Hubballi-Dharwad had been the BJP’s fort for a long time while the party is breaking ground in Kalaburagi.
“It’s a clean sweep and a drubbing to the Congress. It also shows that the people have faith in the new government,” Bommai said.
Going by the indications given by Bommai, the BJP, JD(S) and an independent may join hands in Kalaburagi, a BJP insider claimed.
He also did not rule out the possibility of a breakaway group of Congress emerging to support the BJP. However, the JD(S) state president H K Kumaraswamy said the issue of any coalition with anyone has not yet been discussed in the party and only the seniors in JD(S) will discuss and decide.
The BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel expressed his gratitude to the voters for showing confidence in the BJP government in Karnataka.
“People have reposed faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and have increased our responsibility,” the party state president said.
Speaking about Belagavi where for the first time the BJP came to power, Kateel said due to various factors, independents were in power.
“For the first time people have chosen the BJP and welcomed the nationalistic ideology and the achievements of the BJP government,” Kateel told reporters.
Former chief minister and opposition leader Siddaramaiah said his party Congress had never expected the current outcome in Belagavi, where Congress won only 10 seats while the BJP got the majority. Regarding Hubballi-Dharwad, he said Congress had expected more seats. According to him, local body elections are influenced by local factors and it does not indicate results of upcoming local body elections in other places.
These elections are not influenced by State or national issues, Siddaramaiah told reporters. He added that the BJP got majority in Belagavi and Congress in Kalaburagi.
Pointing out that nobody got majority in other corporations, the Congress veteran said, “This is not Congress’ loss but a warning to BJP.”
He also dismissed the BJP’s claim that it was its victory.
“Nalin Kumar Kateel is under the illusion that people have favoured BJP. This is totally absurd. BJP has not won majority in any corporation except Belagavi and whatever they have got is because of their money, muscle and political power,” Siddaramaiah said.