Bangalore: The Congress party, the main opposition in Karnataka, won a majority of the seats in urban local body elections, signalling growing support for it two months ahead of assembly elections.

The Congress won in 1,959 wards where counting has been completed, while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular) won in 906 wards and 905 wards respectively, out of a total 4,952 wards.

Of the seven city corporations in the state where elections were held, the Congress won a controlling majority in Mangalore, Bellary and Davangere—considered BJP strongholds—and emerged as the party with the most seats in Gulbarga and Mysore. In the Hubli-Dharward corporation, the hometown of BJP chief minister Jagadish Shettar, the BJP won the most seats. In Belgaum, bordering Maharashtra, none of the three parties won any seats.

The results announced on Monday gave a clear indication of the Congress party’s momentum ahead of the coming assembly elections.

While the party has improved its tally from 1,606 wards in the previous such election in 2007, the tally of the JD (S) has fallen significantly from 1,502 wards earlier and the BJP’s from 1,180 wards. Counting remains to be completed in 24 wards.

Former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had a mixed day with his new outfit, the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), winning in 274 wards, emerging as the fourth largest party in the fray.

In his home district of Shimoga, Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP last year to form the KJP, managed to dent the chances of the ruling party in the Shimoga City municipal council and won a majority in one local body. The KJP also fared well in North Karnataka districts Haveri and Gulbarga, where it ate into the BJP’s vote share.

Polls were held for 208 urban local bodies, which includes seven city corporations, 65 town municipal councils, and 93 town panchayats. Polls were not held in Bangalore. According to the state election commission, the voter turnout was nearly 65% across the state.

Within the BJP, the response to the outcome of the elections has been mixed. Former chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said the results were a huge disappointment and the party had to introspect on what went wrong. On the other hand, chief minister Shettar said the results were along expected lines and no inference should be made for the upcoming assembly elections.

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