In a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party just ahead of the Assembly polls, its performance in the urban local body (ULB) elections was way below that of its political rival, the Congress.

In the March 7 elections to the 207 urban local bodies — comprising city corporations, city municipal councils (CMCs), town municipal councils (TMCs) and town panchayats (TPs) — the Congress won 1,960 wards out of the 4,952 that went to the polls. It emerged as the single largest party in 69 ULBs, while in 2007 it scored a decisive victory in only 33 ULBs.

By contrast, the BJP lost 275 wards and 24 ULBs from its 2007 tally. The Janata Dal (Secular) lost 597 wards and 34 ULBs. The Congress’ total gain in terms of wards is 354.

The Congress won 39.57 per cent of the wards as against 32.67 per cent in 2007.

Voters trounced the BJP in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, which were considered bastions of the Sangh Parivar. Except the Kundapur TMC and the TPs of Saligrama and Sullia, the BJP did not win any of the ULBs, including the Mangalore City Corporation and the Udupi CMC, where it was in power. The TMCs of Puttur, Moodbidri, Bantwal, Ullal and Karkala, and the Belthangady TP went to the Congress.

The BJP, which controlled four city corporations — Davangere, Mangalore, Bellary and Hubli-Dharwad — lost the first three to the Congress while it was one seat short of a simple majority in the last. The party failed to win even a single seat in the Bellary City Corporation where the Congress took 26 seats, the JD(S) one and Independents were elected in eight wards.

In the Belgaum corporation all seats were won by Independents. In the Davanagere corporation too, the BJP managed to win just one seat while the Congress bagged 36 wards. The Congress may manage to come to power in the Gulbarga City Corporation, where it won 23 of the 55 seats, with alliances. It was a fractured verdict in the Mysore City Corporation.

The Congress won at least 50 per cent seats in 10 CMCs, 37 TMCs and 19 TPs while the BJP’s tally is two CMCs, 10 TMCs and nine TPs. The JD (S) won in six CMCs, nine TMCs and five TPs while the KJP got three TMCs and two TPs. The KJP won 274 seats and gained control over three TMCs and two TPs. The BSR Congress won in 86 wards.