The mood of political parties ahead of the urban local body elections on March 7 does not seem upbeat if one considers the number of candidates fielded by them. None of the parties has fielded candidates in all the wards, and the Bharatiya Janata Party has not fielded candidates in nearly 20 per cent of the wards.

While there are elections in 4,867 wards, the Congress is contesting the highest number at 4,492. The BJP is a distant second, contesting in only 3,954 wards. The Janata Dal (Secular) is contesting in 3,651 wards, the Karnataka Janata Paksha 1,966 wards and the BSR Congress 1,496 wards. It is only the number of Independents that has crossed the number of wards, at 5,900. Interestingly, Udupi, Koppal and Yadgir are the only districts in the State where any one party is contesting in all the wards. In Koppal and Yadgir, the Congress has fielded candidates in all wards. In Udupi, the BJP has candidates in all wards. The only possible explanation for the inability of political parties to field candidates in all the wards is the entry of new players like the KJP and the BSR Congress, who have caused upheavals and shrunk the number of “winnable” candidates.

There are also rumours that in specific regions there is a covert “understanding” between parties, resulting in selective fielding of candidates to defeat a “common enemy”, though there is nothing “official” about these alliances. Like Jewargi in Gulbarga, where the JD(S) and the BJP have apparently come to an understanding to defeat the Congress.

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