By Abdul Bari Masoud
Bangalore: As ruling party BJP and opposition Congress both have claimed victory in Karnataka Gram Panchayat Election 2020, the new entrant Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has performed remarkably well by capturing more than 200 seats. Though officially results were not declared BJP-backed candidates have won 29,478 seats while the Congress-supported candidates have bagged 24560. The JD(S) candidates have won 15,825 panchayat seats won while SDPI claimed to have won over 200 seats.
The gram panchayat polls were widely expected to reflect the mood of citizens in rural areas. Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that rural India is frustrated by the policies implemented by the BJP. “Farmers are against anti-farmer laws and they found Gram Panchayat elections as the perfect opportunity to teach BJP a lesson.
SDPI leader from Karnataka said performance of SDPI-backed candidates was outstanding as they defied all odds in winning their respective seats.
We supported gram panchayat candidates in 690 seats across 15 districts in Karnataka and in that we won 225 Seats which is 300 per cent increase in our success while in the last gram panchyat elections held in 2015, SDPI had bagged 73 seats, the SDPI leader underlined.
In the last elections, SDPI got majority in 1 panchayat and it was awarded as “Best Governance Gram Panchayat” award. Now in this elections, SDPI secured majority in 3 gram panchayats while the party elected members would in the decision making bodies in more than 10 panchayats. Party also highlighted that its candidates lost more than 50 seats with margin of just few votes.
It is also noted that out of successful candidates, more than 20% are from Dalit and other backward communities while more than 50% are women.
The panchayt results clearly show that SDPI is gaining ground in the countryside of the state and it also reflects that apart from Muslims, the party is getting acceptance in different social and religious groups.
The gram panchayat elections for or over 70,000 seats spread across 5,728 villages were held in two phases – December 22 and 27 December and result were declared on 30th December. Voter turnout was over 80%. Although the Gram Panchayat elections were not fought on party symbols, a bulk of the candidates is backed by either one of the party. Ballot papers were used for the panchayat election except for one district, Bidar – where EVMs were used.
Notably in Kerala there was a major surprise in the just-concluded local body elections where SDPI increased the number of seats it won in the 2015 poll by more than 100 per cent.
While the SDPI had won 40 seats including 32 grama panchayat wards, seven municipal wards and one corporation division in 2015, it bagged 95 seats this time, including 75 panchayat wards, one block panchayat ward, 18 municipal wards and one corporation division.