BJP local polls win not enough to put BSY in comfort zone

Written by Political Bureau | Bangalore/New Delhi | Updated: Jan 6 2011, 05:25am hrs
While Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa steered the BJP to a better performance in the local elections on Tuesday as compared to 2005, the results were well short of the partys expectations. In short, it means that the embattled CMs job continues to be in the line.

The BJP won 12 of the 30 zilla panchayats the rivals JD(S) and Congress four each while no party has a clear majority in the remaining 10. In the case of taluka panchayats, the ruling party wrested power in 68 while the Congress and JD(S) bagged around 30 each. In more than 40 panchayats, the verdict was fractured.

Although the party has definitely bettered its performance, it was always meant to be since its showing last time around was very dismal. It had just one zilla panchayat then and 529 seats in taluka panchayats, a number that has now tripled. Senior central leaders said the party was hoping to corner 50% of both zilla and taluka panchayats, indicating that the showing was short of expectations.

Senior leaders were non-committal about the fate of Yeddyurappa, who had been given a breather despite the mounting clamour for his removal since elections were round the corner. The CMs camp on Tuesday tried to argue that the BJP was never a force in the rural areas of the state, and so its performance was credible and satisfactory, showing it was increasing its influence beyond cities.

Yeddyurappas critics were more forthright, dismissing these claims. Jagdish Shettar, a minister in the BSY Cabinet, pointed out the allegations against the CM were about de-notifying prime plots of land in and around Bangalore. It does not matter much in rural areas, he said arguing so the BJP should have won many more seats there.