Politics News

Counting Underway in 20 Centres for Karnataka MLC Polls

Counting of votes is underway for the biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council’s 25 seats from 20 Local Authorities’ constituencies on Tuesday, the results of which will have a bearing on the power equation in the Upper House of the State Legislature. The election held on December 10, was necessitated as the term of 25 incumbent MLCs 14 Congress, seven BJP and four JD(S) ends on January 5.

Counting is underway in about 20 centres across the state and a clear picture is likely to emerge by post noon or evening, poll officials said. Out of the total 90 candidates in the fray, 20 each were from BJP and Congress, six from JD(S), 33 independents, and rest were all from smaller parties. There was only one woman candidate in the fray, contesting from Chickmagalur constituency.

The electorate for this election comprises elected representatives, including members of urban and rural local bodies. Unlike legislative assembly or Lok Sabha polls, the council contests are decided by preferential votes. The poll outcome will have a bearing on the power equation in the 75-member Upper House, where the ruling BJP wants to gain a majority.

The BJP that has expressed confidence about winning maximum seats needs to win at least 13 seats to secure a majority. The good performance in this election will also be a morale booster for the party after losing Hangal seat in the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home district of Haveri during the recent Assembly bypolls. Speaking to reporters in Varanasi, Bommai expressed confidence of “good results” in favour of the BJP.

The Congress too is determined to win maximum seats to keep the BJP away from gaining control of the upper house; while JD(S) has expressed confidence about winning all the six seats it is contesting in. With the aim to get a majority in the Council, State BJP strongman and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, ahead of the polls, had openly sought JD(S)’ support for BJP candidates in the seats where the regional party was not contesting.

However, amid buzz about a possible pact with the ruling BJP, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy had said local leaders have been authorised to take a decision on whom to support in the seats where his party is not contesting, keeping in mind the prospects for the 2023 Assembly election. The elections were held for two seats each from the local authorities constituencies of Bijapur, Belgaum, Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada and Mysuru; and one each from Bidar, Gulbarga, Uttara Kannada, Raichur, Bellary, Chitradurga, Shivamogga, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Tumakuru, Mandya, Bangalore, Bangalore Rural, Kolar and Kodagu.

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