Bengaluru, May 28: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has completed two years in his office this month, will face a litmus test at the grassroot level when the state goes for Gram Panchayat polls, to be held in two phases - tomorrow and on June 2.
Facing the first major electoral test after the Lok Sabha polls, faring well matters a lot for Siddaramaiah to re-establish his authority in the state where he has been having a smooth run so far.
The Congress had won an absolute majority in the Assembly polls two years ago but the Modi wave arrested the trend in the Lok Sabha elections with BJP winning 17 of the 28 seats. [Modi's one-year rule total failure: Siddaramaiah]
Congress had bagged nine and JDS two Lok Sabha seats. The ruling party has been listing several achievements of the government and seeking votes on the premise of giving a "scandal-free" administration compared to the previous BJP rule, during which cases were filed against 13 ministers.
On the other hand, the BJP has launched a tirade, flaying the government for being in "slumber" from day one. Elections will be held on a non-party basis but the candidates are backed by political parties.
A total of 94,458 GP members will be elected by an electorate of 2.81 crore during the two phases of polling. Fifty per cent of the seats are reserved for women. Counting of votes will take place simultaneously at taluk headquarters across the state on June 5.
The model code of conduct is already in effect from May 10 to June 7. For the first time, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in GPs with Bidar district chosen for the experiment.
Elections are also due to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the city civic body, which the government had sought to defer on the ground of trifurcating BBMP.
Siddaramaiah's plans ran into a roadblock when the bill seeking BBMP's trifurcation failed to be passed in the Opposition-dominated Legislative Council during an emergency legislature session recently.
The Chief Minister further received a jolt when the Supreme Court cleared the decks for holding local bodies polls in Karnataka after it was informed that the state machinery was ready to hold them within three months.
The state government had earlier taken a position that the polls for the BBMP would be held within six months.