In a last minute twist, Congress and JD(S) joined hands to keep away BJP from taking control of the Mysuru City Corporation, during the Mayoral polls on Wednesday. JD(S)' Rukmini Made Gowda was elected as the new Mayor, while Anwar Baig of Congress was elected Deputy Mayor.
Though the Mayoral polls saw the continuation of the Congress-JD(S) alliance, the turn of events came as a surprise, as JD(S) had ahead of polls ruled out allying with any party and fielded its candidates. No party has an absolute majority in the council, but all three had fielded candidates, making for an interesting contest. The Congress and JD(S) decided to join hands at the eleventh hour to keep the BJP out of power.
Sources said JD(S) agreed to it after the grand old party decided to sacrifice the Mayor's post. "After several rounds of discussions we decided to give the Mayor post to JD(S). it's part of our strategy to keep BJP out of power," Congress MLA Tanveer Sait said.
The coming together of both parties shattered the BJP's dream of having the partys first Mayor in Mysuru. Saffron party candidate Sunanda Palanetra polled 26 votes against Rukmini, who secured 43 votes with Congress' support.
What made the turn of events interesting was JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy's statement earlier in the day, ruling out a tie up with Congress at any cost and that his party would remain equidistant from Congress and BJP in the polls. "We want to show our strength to Congress leaders, who had questioned JD(S) strength," he had said, as he targeted Congress leader Siddaramaiah for the end of alliance between both parties in Mysuru corporation.
Kumaraswamy, however later in the day maintained that the local party leaders took the call on going with the Congress. Siddaramaiah, who had earlier indicated about not going with JD(S) if Congress does not get the Mayor's post in his home turf Mysuru, is said to be miffed by today's outcome.
Sources said Congress state President D K Shivakumar, realising that BJP will be at advantage if the party does not join hands with JD(S), reportedly contacted Kumaraswamy, resulting in continuation of alliance in the corporation. This is also seen as part of a cold war that is on between Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah to gain control over party affairs in the state.
For Kumaraswamy too it gave an opportunity to hit back at Siddaramaiah at his own home district, by getting the Mayor post with Congress' support against his wishes.