With BBMP mayoral elections getting closer, leaders in Congress and JD(S) have begun lobbying for the position.
The parties are allies in the BBMP council. The Congress has held the post for the past three years and appears in no mood to pass it to the JD(S) which now wants the post.
The one-year term of the incumbent R Sampath Raj of the Congress ends on September 28. The JD(S)’s Padmavathi Narasimha Murthy is his deputy. Notification to elect the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor is yet to be issued.
Ramila Umashankar (Kaveripura ward), Nethra Narayan (Kaval Bairasandra ward) and SP Hemalatha (Vrishabhavathi ward) are in the race from the JD(S). Hemalatha is the wife of JD(S) MLA Gopalaiah, while Nethra is the JD(S) leader in the BBMP council.
Nearly half a dozen Congress corporators are jostling for the post. Gangambike Mallikarjun (Jayanagar ward), Soumya Shivakumar (Shantinagar ward) and Lavanya Ganesh Reddy (Lingarajapuram ward) are the strong contenders. Senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy and Shamanur Shivashankarappa are reportedly batting in favour of Gangambike.
“Congress has been holding the (Mayoral) position for the past three years. It’s time they pass it up and gives us a chance. It’ll be good for the alliance,” Ramila Umashankar said. Congress leaders believe that the Mayor position should be theirs since they have more seats in the council. Besides, when the party had sacrificed the Chief Ministerial position to the junior partner, the Congress sees no need to vacate one more position.
“We gave them the Chief Ministerial position despite having more seats. It’s our right to hold the Mayoral position,” said MK Gunashekar, senior Congress leader and former Chairman of BBMP’s standing committee of Tax and Finance.
During the previous elections, the JD(S) was given the key position of the chairman of the standing committee of Tax and Finance, which they demanded. The chairman controls BBMP’s finances and presents the budget.
Out of the 259 seats in the BBMP council, Congress-JD(S) alliance has 137, including eight independent corporators, legislators and members of parliament, while the BJP has 122, including its legislators and members of parliament. MLAs, MLCs and MPs residing in Bengaluru can vote in the mayoral polls.
The opposition BJP is yet to decide on contesting the polls. The party leaders are set to be divided on the issue. BJP council leader Padmanabha Reddy said the party has no plans to fight the polls.
“We don’t want to contest the election. We want to be in a system where there is no deception during polls,” he said.
Reddy has filed a case against Congress leader CM Ibrahim for having two voter IDs, one in Shivajinagar and another one in Bhadravathi. “Ibrahim was present during the Mayor elections during last year and it is confirmed that he possesses two voter IDs, which is against the law. Action has to be taken against him,” he said.
Gunashekar said the Commissioner will take necessary action on this.