K’taka MLC polls: Over 99% voter turnout, results to have bearing on power equation in Legislative Council


PTI, Dec 10, 2021, 7:57 PM IST

Bengaluru: An estimated over 99 percent voter turnout has been recorded during the biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council’s 25 seats from 20 Local Authorities’ Constituencies on Friday, the results of which will have a bearing on the power equation in the Upper House of the State Legislature.

The polling that began at 8 am on Friday ended at 4 pm. The results will be declared on December 14.

”The polling process concluded peacefully,” the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, said in a statement.

According to the tentative poll turnout data shared by it, all the constituencies recorded over 99 percent turnout till 4 pm.

Out of the total 90 candidates in the fray, 20 each were from BJP and Congress, six from JD(S), 33 independents, and the rest were all from smaller parties. There was only one woman candidate in the fray, contesting from the Chickmagalur constituency.

The electorate for this election comprises legislators, elected members of urban and rural local bodies. Unlike legislative assembly or Lok Sabha polls, the council contests are decided by preferential votes.

The election was necessitated as the term of 25 incumbent MLCs — 14 Congress, seven BJP, and four JD(S) — ends on January 5.

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 Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home district of Haveri during the recent Assembly bypolls.

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, 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 recently 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.

Speaking to reporters after casting vote in Shiggaon, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said BJP will win all the States it is contesting in and has put efforts into it.

While the State Congress President D K Shivakumar said his party expects to win more seats than it expected, and termed Yediyurappa seeking JD(S)’ support as a sign of BJP losing strength.

JD(S)’ H D Kumaraswamy, too, expressing confidence about winning six seats that the party is contesting in, said this council polls will strengthen the party’s base for 2023 Assembly polls and set a tone for a new politics in the State.

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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