Bengaluru, Feb 23: Counting of votes in the Taluk Panchayat and Zilla Panchayat elections held in two phases on February 12 and 20 is underway here. The counting began from 8 AM simultaneously at all district headquarters and the results are expected to start trickling in from the afternoon.
The results of these grassroots level elections is seen as a run up to the 2018 assembly elections as it would not only reflect the political mood of the people but also give their perception on Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state.
Though the results will not disturb the Siddaramaiah government, a defeat would give an opportunity for his opponents within the party to sharpen their knives against his leadership, especially following the defeat of the Congress in the recent by elections in two of the three Assembly segments.
However, Siddaramaiah has said that the results of these polls will not be a referendum on the performance of his government.
"Issues for civic polls are different from issues debated during Assembly and Lok Sabha elections," he has said. A total of 74.37 per cent voting was recorded in the first phase held on February 12 while the second phase saw a voter turnout of 68 to 70 per cent in 15 districts.
Polling was held to 530 zilla panchayat seats and 1,936 taluk panchayat seats. A total of 2,159 candidates contested the zilla panchayat polls and 6,457 contestants were in the fray for taluk panchayat seats.
All three major political parties - Congress, BJP and JD(S)- made good efforts to attract voters through their aggressive campaigns. While the Congress tried to woo voters highlighting a slew of welfare programmes announced by Siddaramaiah for Dalits and backward classes, BJP campaigned around the "failure" of the government on all fronts.
The JD(S) triggered a debate on regional parties versus national parties to win over voters.