BJP's 'Dark Horse' Gowtham Kumar Defeats Congress Candidate to Become Next Bengaluru Mayor
New Delhi: BJP's M Gowtham Kumar was declared the winner of the mayoral elections in Karnataka's Bengaluru on Tuesday. Kumar is a two-time BJP corporator from Jogupalya ward (Ward 89) in Ulsoor. He clinched victory over Congress' R Satyanarayana by 17 votes and win the top elected post in the local civic body — the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
A staunch BJP worker, Gowtham Kumar was chosen as the candidate on Tuesday morning after two opposing factions within the BJP reached a consensus. The BJP had been in the throes of an internal turf war all of Monday night till early morning on Tuesday over the decision.
"Modi's dream is to make Bengaluru plastic-free and our Chief Minister Yediyurapa's dream is to solve the traffic problems of Bengaluru. We will work with all the MLAs from this city to realise both these dreams," Kumar told News18 soon after he was declared as the winner of the mayoral elections.
The ruling camp made its decision on its mayoral candidate with barely thirty minutes left for the nomination deadline. Gowtham Kumar and Padmanabha Reddy from the BJP were both asked to file nominations, while Gurumurthy Reddy, Mahalakshmi and Mohan Raju submitted their nominations for the deputy mayor’s post.
Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan said that the candidates had been chosen to give equal opportunities to party members from across the city. Even after the nominations were filed, however, the party remained divided as leaders like Ashwath Narayan and R Ashok refused to assert the names of the finalized candidates.
The BJP held a meeting following the nomination filing. MLA Satheesh Reddy, who left the meeting midway, admitted that there was a difference of opinion among the members on its mayoral candidate.
While Reddy was backed by Ashok and Yediyurappa, BJP President Naleen Kumar Kateel had initially backed Muneendra Kumar, a corporator from Jakkur, as its mayoral candidate. Kateel's choice was met with opposition within the party. Kateel finally went with neither of the two candidates - Padmanabha Reddy and Muneendra Kumar -- and instead zeroed-in on M Gowtham Kumar.
Reddy’s nomination was withdrawn just five minutes before the vote took place.
Gowtham Kumar finally won the mayoral poll with 129 votes in his favour, while the Congress-JDS alliance, which had fielded Congress corporator RS Satyanarayana as its candidate, garnered only 112 votes in the 257-member BBMP Council in Tuesday's voting.
Despite the back-and-forth in the ruling camp, Congress seemed to have reconciled itself to losing power in the council power.
"Victory and loss is a part of democracy. It is our duty to field a candidate. Five MLAs from Bengaluru had been disqualified. There are several corporators who would have backed them. It is not about winning or losing. It is about contesting," said Ramalinga Reddy, a Congress MLA from Bengaluru.
The party had held sway over the BBMP for the last four years, with the JDS' support. However, with four of its MLAs from the city disqualified in July, the numbers had been stacked up against them.
BJP's candidate Rammohan Raju was voted as the Deputy Mayor. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor have a one-year term in office, until next September. Since the term of the BBMP Council also ends next September, the city will see elections to its municipal corporation at the same time.