Suresh Bhat

High profile campaigning of the Janata Dal (S) fails to woo voters

Presence of AIPJD candidates helps BJP Janata Dal (S) wins only one zilla panchayat seat H.Y. Meti proves a point to his detractors in Janata Dal (S)

BAGALKOT: While leaving the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bruised, the zilla and taluk panchayat elections have resurrected the Congress in Bagalkot District.

It was a battle for life for the Congress and its performance surpassed its own expectations. It has secured a simple majority of 17 seats in the 32-member zilla panchayat. In the last Assembly elections, the party had drawn a blank in the district.

The Congress won a comfortable majority in Bagalkot, Bilagi and Jamkhandi taluk panchayats and emerged as single largest party in Badami Taluk Panchayat.

In Hungund and Mudhol taluk panchayats, it is a tie between the Congress and the BJP.

Apart from winning the Lok Sabha seat, the BJP bagged six of the seven Assembly seats in the district. Unlike in Bijapur, the party leaders in the district worked as a single unit with the sole aim of capturing power in all taluk panchayats as well as the zilla panchayat.

It was an opportunity for the MLAs to consolidate their hold in their respective taluks. But the results showed that they have to work more to help the party take roots in rural areas. The party had to be contended with just 10 zilla panchayat seats and 38 taluk panchayat seats.

Expectation was not much from the All India Progressive Janata Dal, led by the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the district.

Guledgud MLA H.Y. Meti led the party to victory in the three zilla panchayat constituencies and 16 taluk panchayat segments.

The Congress now has to depend on AIPJD support in Hungund and Badami taluk panchayats.

What is notable is the BJP could not win even a single zilla panchayat seat in the area covering Bagalkot, Bilagi and Guledgud Assembly segments where the Congress and the AIPJD had seat adjustments. It indicated that the Congress-AIPJD alliance can be formidable.

The results in Hungund taluk showed that the AIPJD can eat into the Congress base.

The BJP won three zilla panchayat seats, thanks to the presence of AIPJD candidates in the fray.

While the AIPJD won one seat, the Congress bagged the remaining two.

The Janata Dal (Secular), which carried out a high profile campaign, belied the expectations.

The party received a major setback after Mr. Meti chose to align with Mr. Siddaramaiah.

The appointment of the former MLA from Bagalkot P.H. Pujar as district unit party rejuvenated the party's rank and file. Many senior members from other parties, especially the BJP, shifted their loyalty to the Janata Dal (S).

The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and several Ministers addressed rallies.

Yet, the party could win only one zilla panchayat seat and two taluk panchayat seats in the district.