A Not-So-Happy Thursday For The Congress In Karnataka

by Harsha Bhat - Nov 15, 2019 05:39 AM
A Not-So-Happy Thursday For The Congress In KarnatakaCongress President Rahul Gandhi (Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) 
Snapshot
  • To top the dismissal of the Rafale review petition by the Supreme Court today, the Congress must be smarting under the events that have transpired in Bengaluru and Mangaluru.

It was a troubling Thursday for the Congress party in Karnataka. Even as the news of the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the review petition filed in the Rafael case was sinking in, they had to prepare for many more sorry events.

First was the news of all the rebel ‘disqualified’ MLAs joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with B S Yediyurappa in his ‘induction’ speech assuring those that jumped over that ‘promises’ would be kept.

Of the 17 disqualified rebel MLAs, 16 (barring Roshan Baig) joined the BJP. This was followed by 13 of the 16 being announced as BJP candidates for the 5 December bypolls within hours of them joining the party. Of the 13 named, 10 belonged to the Congress.

Moving to the urban local body(ULB) elections, in comparison to its previous performance, the Congress has slipped to 151 from 179, while the BJP rose from 51 to 125 this time. Even the JD(S) has slipped from its past 81 to 63 this time. Although the highest number of wards of urban local bodies(151/418)are still with the Congress, the BJP after today is only marginally trailing.

Of the two city corporations, the Congress lost Mangaluru with a massive margin, while Davanagere has a hung house, with Congress one seat short for claiming power.

The saffron party registered its best victory ever winning 44 out of 60 seats in Mangaluru City Corporation. Congress which had won 35 seats last time around was left with just 14 seats. The BJP has doubled its numbers from its last term’s 20. This victory of the BJP is a huge setback for the Congress which had won four out of the last seven council elections with a majority.

Another surprising setback was BJP’s maiden victory in the municipal election held in the Congress’ Super Power D K Shivakumar’s Kanakapura constituency. In a first, a BJP candidate has won from Vivekananda ward of Kanakapura by a margin of 136 votes.

Given that the region swears by the muscle man of the Congress party, this victory is being hailed by locals as a significant one.

Even in Kundagola town panchayat of Dharwad district, where the Congress had held the reigns in coalition with the JDS last time, BJP has won a clear majority winning 12 out of 19 seats, with the Congress slipping to a dismal five.

The overall numbers too aren’t anything the Congress can rejoice over as the BJP has won a clear majority in four out of the 14 ULBs, while Congress has just two in its kitty, with seven hung houses.

The bypolls are due in less than a month and the BJP needs to win just six out of the 15 seats; so the Congress sure needs to get its act together to ensure it does have a say in the state.


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