Karnataka BJP Now Eyes Bengaluru Mayor’s Post; Party Confident of Numbers
The mayoral election will be held in September this year, after the end of one-year term of current mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, a corporator of the Congress in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.
Bengaluru: After winning a majority of the parliamentary seats in Karnataka and unseating the Congress-JDS coalition to form its own government in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now eyeing the post of the mayor of Bengaluru by ensuring its candidate’s win in the upcoming mayoral polls.
The party believes it now has numbers on its side, as many of the 17 Congress and JDS MLAs disqualified amid the recent political crisis are lawmakers from Bengaluru city.
The mayoral election will be held in September this year, after the end of one-year term of current mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, a corporator of the Congress in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Although the BJP had emerged the single-largest party after the BBMP elections in 2015, the party failed to win the mayor polls because of the formula in place that also allows voting rights to MLAs, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs and MLCs who are residents of Bengaluru to elect the mayor.
Of the 198 seats, the BJP has 102 corporators, Congress 74, JD(S) 14 and eight are independents.
The BBMP council, comprising the city MLAs, city MPs and city MLCs, has 262-members, where the BJP had 125, seven short of the magic number — 132.
“It is not going to be difficult. The picture is clear. We have the numbers and we will win the mayor’s election too. We don’t see any chance where the Congress and JDS can manage the numbers," said BJP MLA Ashwath Narayan.
The coalition has lost four MLAs from the city to disqualification. While four more votes are not enough to get a majority (they are short of seven), the BJP believes this could tilt numbers in its favour, because there are some corporators who are loyal to these disqualified MLAs who will vote against the Congress-JDS combine in the BBMP.
"The disqualification is challenged in the Supreme Court. We do not know what the apex court is going to order. In addition, there are three to five corporators in the Assembly constituencies of disqualified MLAs Gopalayya, Byrathi Basavraj, Munirathna and Somashekar. We do not know what their stand will be,” said JD(S) member of Legislative Council (MLC) TA Sharavana.
On Saturday, the BJP government, with only BS Yedyurappa in the council of ministers, scrapped approval for the BBMP budget given four months ago. A source said the BJP is looking to make radical reforms against allegations that the Congress-JDS coalition had discriminated while releasing funds for wards that were represented by BJP MLAs.
While there is no official statement from the Congress on the coalition parting ways, both the parties have started ground-work to find candidates for the 17 Assembly constituencies where by-elections are inevitable.
The JD(S) has already said that its party workers are against continuing with the coalition and are looking to field their own candidates in all 17 seats.
However, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has said the party is waiting for the Congress high command to communicate its stand.
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