Bengaluru :In what was seen as a crucial test for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress has managed to win 13 seats leaving behind BJP and JD(S) in the biennial elections for 25 seats of Karnataka Legislative Council from local authorities constituencies.
BJP has bagged 6 seats, JD(S) 4 and others 2 in the elections held on Sunday to fill the vacancies as the term of office of 25 members from local authorities’ constituencies is due to expire on January 5.
The poll results can be seen as advantage for the ruling Congress that was hoping to boost its strength in the Upper House. Congress is lacking numbers in the 75-member Council because of which it has often faced piquant situations with BJP and JDS joining hands on certain issues.
Currently, the party wise strength is: BJP-30, Congress-28, JDS-11, Independents-4, besides the Chairman. One seat is vacant.
125 candidates were in the fray of which 117 were men and eight are women. Congress had fielded 21 candidates, BJP 20, JD(S) 18 and others 6, besides 60 independents.
In a setback, BJP has lost in Shivamogga, seen as turf of the party strongman and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, while JD(S) was humbled in its bastion of Hassan, also the home town of party supremo H D Devegowda.
BJP, however, defeated Congress’ candidate in Kalburgi, the hometown of Congress Leader in the Parliament, Mallikarjuna Kharge.
Reacting to the results, Siddaramaiah said “efforts put in by party workers and leaders have paid off.”
Criticising party’s dissident candidates, he said, “They have lost, they have not been able to get minimum votes, voters have taught them a lesson.”
BJP state president Prahlad Joshi said, “Performance at a couple of places has disappointed us, but use of money and misuse of power is the reason for BJP candidates getting defeated at several places.”
BJP national vice president B S Yeddyurappa said the party’s performance was not as per their expectations.
“The verdict shows that the voters have clearly favoured the ruling party,” he said.