‘Issues in Assembly elections are totally different from those in ULB polls’

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has said that the results of the elections to the urban local bodies are not a referendum on the performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State and hoped that the party will retain power in elections to the State Legislative Assembly scheduled to be held in May.

The BJP core committee held a meeting here on Tuesday to introspect the performance of the party in ULB elections in various districts. “Issues in Assembly elections will be totally different. ULB elections are fought on local problems and local issues. I am confident of a good show of the party in the coming Assembly elections,” the Chief Minister told presspersons here.

Election results of ULBs indicated the presence of the BJP in all taluks and districts. Unlike the Janata Dal (Secular), BJP candidates were elected in all 207 ULBs. The JD (S) has no presence in 137 ULBs. Despite less seats compared to 2007 elections, the BJP’s organisation and support base was intact across urban areas of the State, Mr Shettar said.

The BJP candidates were elected in 905 wards in 207 ULBs against 1,080 wards in elections held in 2007.

Mr. Shettar declined to draw any comparison between the party’s performance in elections to ULBs and forthcoming elections to the Assembly. Though the party candidates had won in 1,080 wards in the 2007 ULB elections, it emerged victorious in 110 Assembly constituencies in 2008 while the Congress managed just 71 Assembly seats. The Congress secured 1,606 wards in elections held to ULBs in the year 2007.

The Janata Dal (Secular) won in 1,502 wards in the 2007 ULB elections but was relegated to third place with 26 Assembly seats in 2008, he said.

However, he admitted that split in the party and victory of more than 700 independent candidates were major factors that contributed to the decline of the party’s tally in these elections. Noting that “ULBs election results are warning bells to all parties”, Mr. Shettar said the BJP had secured highest number of votes in Shimoga City Municipal Council. The BJP secured 35,500 votes while the Congress bagged 34,731 votes. The KJP, led by the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, secured 27,300 votes while the JD (S) got 25,350, he said.

On Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah’s allegations about kickbacks received by the Chief Minister’s office with regard to roads works in Kempe Gowda layout in Bangalore, Mr. Shettar said there was no substance in the charges. “Allegations are baseless and far from truth,” he said.

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