Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in lead in the Bengaluru civic corporation’s election, according to trends from counting of votes in 197 wards across the city on Tuesday.
Three hours after the counting began at 8 a.m. in 27 centres across the city, the BJP led in 67 wards, the Congress in 47, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 10 and independents in five, as per trends available from 129 wards.
But from results declared for 18 wards till 11 a.m., the BJP and the Congress have won seven seats each and the JD-S three, while an independent got elected in one ward.
Polling was held in 197 of the 198 wards on Saturday in which 49.3 percent of voting was registered, as over 36-lakh of the 74-lakh electorate exercised franchise in the day-long election, marred by some irregularities and rains.
Though the expanded Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has 198 wards, polling was not held in one ward, as BJP candidate Bharati Ramachandra, 45, was declared elected from the Hongasandra (ward #189) after the nomination of Congress candidate K. Maheshwari was rejected on August 13 for submitting a fake caste certificate.
The century-old BBMP was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase civic wards to 198 from 100.
Delimitation of the wards on the basis of the 2011 population census with 50 percent of them reserved for women have forced political parties to field wives or relatives of former corporators as contestants in many wards.
In all, 1,120 candidates, including 197 from the BJP, 198 from the Congress and 187 from the JD-S, a dozen from regional outfits like Vatala Chaluvali Paksha, AIADMK and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and 399 independents, including many as rebels were in the fray.
In the previous five-year term (2010-15), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning in 116 wards, as against 62 wards by the Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by independents.
In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.
Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.
The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.
BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.
The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.
Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.
“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.
The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)