The Congress party's defeat in the Bengaluru civic polls has been made worse by the fact that for the first time in 20 years, a party that was in the Opposition in the state has won the civic polls - meaning that despite the anti-incumbency against the outgoing BJP Council, the Congress could not capitalise on it, and the BJP won the city for the second consecutive time.
Since Tuesday morning the BJP was leading but the Congress did not fare too badly. However, the final tally gave the BJP 100 seats, down from its numbers last year; the Congress stood at 76 seats, and the Janata Dal (Secular) 14. In the previous Council that was elected in 2010, BJP won 116, Congress 62 wards, and JD (S) 14, and independents won eight seats.
Winners of the BJP include former mayors Katte Subrahmanya of Basavangudi, and Shanta Kumari from the Maruti Mandir ward in west Bengaluru. BJP workers in the city began celebrating within two hours of the commencement of counting.
Speaking to TV 9 Kannada from Delhi, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said that the Opposition had won the civic polls in the city for the first time in 20 years. Holding a press conference at their office in Malleswaram after the results were offcially announced, BJP leaders said that the state unit owed its victory to the prime minister.
Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said that the people of Bengaluru had given a message to the Siddaramaiah government. "The 49 percent of voters have told Siddaramaiah that his administration has not yet taken off... It is a verdict against the trifurcation. Please bow to the verdict of the people and say that you will withdraw the bill (the BBMP trifurcation bill)."
â€śYou canâ€™t call it a failure, we have won in some parts, lost in others. The people have made their decision, and have accepted it,â€ť state Congress president G Parameshwara told reporters.
Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao admitted that the Congress needed to introspect to pinpoint how and why the party lost the elections. He said that it was â€śperhaps because we did not coordinate properlyâ€ť.
The ground for the BBMP elections was being prepared by the opposition even as the ruling Congress government in the state attempted to dismantle it. Some of the factors that contributed to the Congress' defeat include the mishandling of the D K Ravi case, and the Siddaramaiah government's botching up of the trifurcation of the BBMP by approaching the Karnataka High Court in a bid to avoid polls.
Although there are over 7 million people registered to vote in the civic polls, the voter turnout was just 45 percent, just four percent higher than the previous elections. Counting began at 8 am in 27 centres. There were 6,463 polling booths across the city where voting was carried out on August 22.