Suresh Bhat

Party could win only 20 seats as against 31 in the last panchayat elections

AIPJD splits the traditional vote bank of the Janata Dal (S) BJP puts up an unimpressive show Janata Dal (S) does well in Indi and Sindagi taluks

BIJAPUR: The outcome of zilla and taluk panchayat elections has come as an eye opener for major parties, especially the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular). It has provided them an opportunity to redraw their political strategies.

With 20 seats, the Congress is far ahead of its two main rivals. But this is a poor show by the Congress compared to its performance in the previous elections, in which it won 31 seats in the 32-member House. The Congress has some reasons to be elated over the result in the wake of its poor show in the last general elections in which it can win only three of eight Assembly seats.

Whatever the number of seats, the Janata Dal (S) has reaped a bonanza as it had no representative in the zilla or taluk panchayats. After independent MLA from Indi joined the party, it gained in strength and launched a vigorous campaign. It won a majority of the zilla panchayat seats in Indi and Sindagi taluks. It emerged as the single largest party in the two taluk panchayats. The inroads made by the All India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD), led by the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, dented its vote bank in the other taluks.

Hopes belied

The Janata Dal (S) was confident of winning at least three zilla panchayat seats in Muddebihal taluk where the party has the leadership of the former Minister Vimalabai Deshmukh. But it could get just one seat in the region.

The AIPJD won one zilla panchayat seat and six taluk panchayat seats. Its candidates finished second in a few constituencies.

The emergence of the AIPJD has not worried the Janata Dal (S). But the Congress is anxious about it as the AIPJD can eat into its vote bank.

The result of Shivanagi segment, where the BJP benefited from the triangular contest with the AIPJD candidate taking a good number of votes.

In Basarkod, Minajagi and Nalvatwad zilla panchayat constituencies, which were once the strongholds of the Congress, the BJP, the AIPJD and the Janata Dal (S) gained at the cost of the Congress.

The election has thrown light on the limitations of the BJP in rural areas.

Apart from winning the Bijapur Lok Sabha seat, the party won three Assembly seats in the last general elections. But it could win only five zilla panchayat seats and 24 taluk panchayat seats in the district.