Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained its lead in the Bengaluru civic corporation's election as the counting of votes crossed the half-way mark in 197 wards across the city on Tuesday.
As per trends available for 195 wards at 1 p.m., BJP was leading in 99 wards, Congress in 74, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 14 and Independents in eight.
Polling was held in 197 of the 198 wards on Saturday in which 49.3 percent voting was registered, as over 36 lakh of the 74 lakh electorate exercised their franchise in the day-long election, marred by some irregularities and rain.
Though the expanded Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has 198 wards, BJP candidate Bharati Ramachandra, 45, was declared elected unanimously from the Hongasandra (ward #189) after the nomination of Congress candidate K. Maheshwari was rejected on August 13 for submitting a fake caste certificate.
The century-old BBMP was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils, one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase civic wards to 198 from 100.
Delimitation of the wards on the basis of the 2011 population census with 50 percent of them reserved for women have forced political parties to field wives or relatives of former corporators as contestants in many wards.
In all, 1,120 candidates, including 197, 198 and 187 from BJP, Congress and JD-S respectively, a dozen from regional outfits like Vatala Chaluvali Paksha, AIADMK and Socialist Democratic Party of India and 399 Independents, including many rebels contested in the bitterly fought civic election.
In the previous five-year term (2010-2015), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning in 116 wards, as against 62 wards by the Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by Independents.