The counting of votes in the taluk panchayat and zilla panchayat elections held in two phases on February 12 and 20 is underway in Karnataka.
The State Election Commission notifies that out of 1,083 zilla panchayat seats, the results of 1,052 seats have been declared. The BJP has won 397, Congress 491, Janata Dal (Secular) 135, CPM 1, Independent 27, Janata Dal (United) 1.
Out of 3,884 taluk panchayat seats, the results of 3,810 seats have been declared. The BJP has won 1,337, Congress 1,675 Janata Dal (Secular) 592, BSP 5, CPM 6, Independent 179, Janata Dal (U) 9, Others 7.
The elections had taken place in two phases. A total of 74.37 percent of voting was recorded in the first phase held on February 12. The second phase of the zilla and taluk panchayat elections was held in 15 districts of Karnataka, which saw a voter turnout of 68 to 70 percent.
Mysore, Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Hassan, Kodagu, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Udupi, Bidar, Bellary, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Vijayapura were the districts that went for polls in the second phase of polls. Candidates in one zilla panchayat seat and three taluk panchayat seats have been declared elected unopposed.
The results of these grassroots level elections is seen as a run up to the 2018 Assembly Elections as it would not only reflect the political mood of the people but also give their perception on Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state.
Though the results will not disturb the Siddaramaiah government, a defeat would give an opportunity for his opponents within the party to sharpen their knives against his leadership, especially following the defeat of the Congress in the recent by elections in two of the three Assembly segments.
However, Siddaramaiah has said that the results of these polls will not be a referendum on the performance of his government. "Issues for civic polls are different from issues debated during Assembly and Lok Sabha elections," he has said.
A total of 2,159 candidates contested the zilla panchayat polls and 6,457 contestants were in the fray for taluk panchayat seats. All three major political parties - Congress, BJP and JD(S) - made good efforts to attract voters through their aggressive campaigns.
While the Congress tried to woo voters highlighting a slew of welfare programmes announced by Siddaramaiah for Dalits and backward classes, the BJP campaigned around the "failure" of the government on all fronts. The JD(S) triggered a debate on regional parties versus national parties to win over voters.