BENGALURU: In a hat-trick of sorts for BJP in civic polls across the country, the party today won control of the IT city's civic body for a second term in the bitterly fought elections, with the outcome coming as a setback to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Upsetting Congress plans to wrest control of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council with an all out offensive, BJP won 100 wards out of 198, as the results were declared today by the State Election Commission for the polls held on August 22.
After its wins in the civic polls in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Bengaluru results make it three-in-a row for BJP, which weathered an aggressive campaign led from the front by the Chief Minister himself against its rule in BBMP.
Congress bagged 76, JDS headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda 14 and others eight, according to BBMP officials. Though marginally short of a simple majority mark of 103 in the 254-member council, BJP is expected to draw on support from Independent councilors to reach the magic figure.
Admitting that the results are not according to his party's expectations, Siddaramaiah said, "We had expected a simple majority for Congress."
He said "This result is not a referendum on my government, but as a Chief Minister I own responsibility." Amid wild celebrations by BJP, Union minister Ananth Kumar said, "This mandate shows that countdown has begun for Siddaramamaih and for the Congress."
Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said "the results show that Siddaramaiah-led government has not taken off till now," while BJP Vice-President B S Yeddyurappa said the verdict "shows the relevance of Modi wave still."
The elections were the culmination of a prolonged court battle, as the Siddaramaiah government sought to defer it on grounds of trifurcating BBMP, with the Opposition crying foul and accusing it of doing so out of fear of losing the polls.
A total of 1,121 candidates were in the fray. One candidate from BJP was already elected unopposed. Besides Corporators, the 254-member BBMP Council includes 56 other members from Bengaluru with voting rights-- 28 MLAs, 15 MLCs, five Lok Sabha and eight Rajya Sabha members. During the 2010 BBMP polls, BJP which then was ruling the state had won in 111 wards, Congress in 65 wards, JD(S) in 15 and others 17.