Bengaluru: The stage is set for a mini poll battle in Karnataka with State Election Commission yesterday announcing the schedule for elections to 105 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
These include 29 City Municipal Councils, 53 Town Municipal Councils and 23 Town Panchayats. Polling will be held on Aug. 29 and counting of votes will be on Sept. 1. Karnataka State Election Commissioner P.N. Sreenivasachari said, “The Deputy Commissioners of respective districts will issue the notification on Aug. 10. Model code of conduct will come into effect immediately after the DCs issue orders for conducting polls.’’
There will be no elections for the ULBs in Bengaluru Rural, Bengaluru Urban, Ramanagaram, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Dharwad, Chikkamagalur and Shivamogga districts, and for the Mysuru, Tumakuru and Shivamogga Municipal Corporations. These ULBs will not go to polls as litigations are pending in Courts.
The State has a total of 212 ULBs and polling for the remaining 107 ULBs will be held in the second phase after the end of their term in November. These include seven City Corporations.
Filing of nominations will begin on August 10 and the last date for filing nominations is August 17. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on August 18 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is August 20. Polling, if necessary, will be held from 7 am to 5 pm on August 29. Re-polling, if necessary, will be held on August 31.
“Counting of votes will be held on September 1 at the respective taluk centres from 8 am and the election process will be completed by September 1. The model code of conduct will be in force till September 1 in the jurisdiction of ULBs,” Sreenivasachari said.
Over 36 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise in the ULB polls. “There are 927 wards in 29 City Municipal Corporations, 1,247 wards in 53 Town Municipal Corporations and 400 Wards in 23 Town Panchayats with a total electorate of 36,03,691,” he said.
Litmus test for coalition partners
The elections are likely to be the first major test for the coalition between the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress in the State. The ULB elections gain significance as they are being held shortly after the Assembly elections and before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Contesting the elections together also carries the risk of further upsetting the grassroots level workers, who are already unhappy with the State-level coalition. This could create problems for the two parties, which are trying hard to strengthen the coalition to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the aim of improving on their respective 2014 LS performances.
ULB polls are viewed as barometer of the mood of the people in the State. The last time these polls for these 108 bodies were held was in Feb. 2013, two months before the Assembly elections that year, and had proved to be a pointer to the eventual sweep by the Congress in the Assembly polls. Hence, there is a lot riding on these polls as LS polls are less than a year away.
- Notification on Aug. 10
- Polling on Aug. 29
- Counting on Sept. 1
- Filing of nominations begins on Aug. 10
- Last date for filing nominations on Aug. 17
- Scrutiny of nominations on Aug. 18
- Last date for withdrawal of nominations on Aug. 20
- Re-polling, if necessary, will be held on Aug. 31
EXPENDITURE LIMIT FOR CANDIDATES
The State Election Commission has set a maximum expenditure limit for the candidates.
- City Municipal Councils: Rs. 2 lakh
- Town Municipal Councils: Rs. 1.50 lakh
- Town Panchayat: Rs.1 lakh