JD-S, Congress to extend alliance to civic bodies in Karnataka

Bengaluru: The ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Congress in Karnataka would extend their coalition alliance to the urban local bodies (ULBs) across the state to keep the opposition BJP out of power, said a JD-S official on Saturday.

“In the event of either party not getting majority on its own in the ULB elections, we will have post-poll alliance to rule the local bodies as we did to form the coalition government in the state after the May 12 assembly election threw a hung House with a split verdict,” the official told IANS here.

Elections to 105 ULBs, including three city corporations, were held on Friday across the southern state, with a record 68 per cent voter turnout.

Counting is on Monday from 8 a.m and results are expected to be declared by night as electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used for polling.

According to the State Election Commission (SEC), polling was held in 2,662 civic wards spanning 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities, 23 town panchayats and 135 wards at Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru city corporations.

“Though we are hoping to secure majority in city, town and panchayat wards in our strongholds, especially in the old Mysuru region, we are ready to take the support of the Congress to run the local bodies with majority,” said the official.

The JD-S is also ready to support the Congress in the local bodies where it will fall short of majority so as to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from ruling them.

“We are expecting to secure majority in many city and town municipalities across the state though we contested against the JD-S and the BJP. We hope the JD-S will reciprocate our gesture to support it in forming the coalition government in the state,” a Congress spokesman told IANS here.

In all, 8,340 candidates, including 2,306 from the Congress, 2,203 from the BJP and 1,397 from the JD-S contested in the ULBs, while 814 did in three city corporations, including 135 from Congress, 130 from BJP and 129 from JD-S, with the remaining as Independents.

In the 2013 ULB elections held in 4,976 seats, the Congress had won 1,960 seats, while the BJP and the JD-S had won 905 seats each, and Independents had bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.

“Though the coordination committee of the alliance partners discussed the prospects of post-poll tie-up in ULBs, a decision to that effect will be taken after all the results of the wards are declared by Monday night,” added the Congress official.