After the national election disaster in Karnataka, the Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) alliance drew comfort on Friday from the results of local body polls, which they contested separately.
The Congress has won most number of seats in the polls to 61 Urban Local Bodies, which took place on May 29.
The Congress won 509 of 1,300 seats, the JDS 174, BJP 366 and Independents 160 as counting took place today.
A week after the Lok Sabha election results, the results are a much needed pick-me-up for the Congress and JDS; the two parties managed only one each of Karnataka's 28 seats. The BJP won 25, decimating the one-year-old Congress-JDS coalition.
The national election defeat is seen to have triggered a meltdown in the ruling coalition, which has been battling to stave off rebellion and defection since it took power in May last year.
There had been speculation that the state government might not survive if any Congress or JDS lawmakers crossed over to the BJP. But the immediate threat of that seems to have subsided. A Congress legislature party meeting on Wednesday saw all but two of the party's 79 lawmakers affirming their loyalty to the party.
For the urban local body polls, the Congress and JDS fought separately.
On Congress-JDS not fighting the local body polls together, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Gundu Rao said: "We (Congress and JDS) always fought the local body elections fought separately. Only at the parliament-level, we had decided to go in alliance. Even last year we fought local body elections separately. There is no alliance for any other election. Even in the future, zilla panchayat, Taluk panchayat, gram panchayat - we will be fighting separately. But wherever possible, after the results, post poll alliances will be done. If JDS requires support to form the body, we will give. If we need support, they will give."
Congress leaders have also said these poll results proved that the party still hasn't lost its grip on the grassroots level.
Dinesh Gundu Rao told NDTV. "Look at the results. Congress has done very well. We have come out as the number one party. Out of the 1,300 seats, we have won more than 500. It goes to show that at the grass-root level, the party is very strong."
"Whatever may have happened in the Lok Sabha election, this has happened just a few days after that. And whatever the BJP has been talking that the Congress is finished, BJP should have come first and won 60 per cent of the seats. But it was the reverse. The BJP was able to win just 20 per cent of the seats. So it is a wonderful result. It gave us a big boost".
The Karnataka Congress tweeted after the win: "We thank the people of Karnataka for standing by the Congress. We are committed to your faith in us."
Last year, when 105 Urban Local Bodies went to polls, the Congress won 982 seats, the BJP 929 and the JDS 375.
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