Karnataka to hold local body elections on August 29

Karnataka to hold local body elections on August 29

Courtesy : NJ03/08/2018 09:56

 Elections to 105 urban local bodies will be held on August 29, the State Election Commission announced on Thursday, leading to questions if the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government’s alliance will continuing for the contest.

In 2013, these polls were held before the state assembly elections and proved to be a pointer to the eventual sweep by the Congress in the state. This time around, though, the polls will be held over two phases, as the term of 102 of the 207 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) is yet to near completion. A total of 2,574 wards or seats will be up for grabs, and a majority of them are located in the northern regions of the state. As many as 70 of the 105 ULBs are in northern Karnataka, where protests are on to press the demand for a separate state. While the bandh called by some northern Karnataka groups found little resonance in the region, the protests against the state government for its alleged neglect of the region in the state Cabinet and in the Budget presented by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on July 5, have not abated.

Govind Karajol, Bharatiya Janata Party’s state vice-president, said his party’s aim would be to highlight the injustice meted out to the northern region of the state by the Kumaraswamy-led government. “While the contest in that area is a direct one between us and the Congress, because the JD(S) does not exist in those areas, we will highlight Congress’s failure to ensure that the northern region was allocated more funds despite being a coalition partner,” he said. According to Karajol, the BJP was best placed to corner most of the seats as its organisation was still very strong, having ensured that the party won 104 of the 224 assembly seats in the state. “Our organisation is very strong and the misrule of the current government is very obvious. Hence, it is almost certain that the people will vote predominantly for us rather than the coalition,” he added. With Lok Sabha polls next year, the coalition partners can ill afford a breakdown in their alliance. However, the Congress and JD(S) are yet to come to a decision on whether they want to contest the polls as an alliance or individually, as they had done when they had an alliance between 2004 and 2006.

Congres s state president Dinesh Gundu Rao said while a decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls together had been reached there was no decision yet on the ULB polls. “Our coordination committee will meet soon and we will come to a decision on this matter,” he said.

Danish Ali, Secretary General of the JD(S), too, said the parties had not reached any decision on this matter. “We will reach a consensus based on our discussions, which will happen shortly,” he said.


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