EC’s move a shot in the arm for BJP in mayoral polls

EC’s move a shot in the arm for BJP in mayoral polls

A file photo of the mayoral polls in 2018. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

The Election Commission’s decision to defer bypolls to 15 constituencies could prove to be a shot in the arm for the BJP during the mayoral polls to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) scheduled on Monday.

Confident of winning the mayoral polls this time, the BJP leaders were worried about the Supreme Court’s stand on the fate of disqualified MLAs as it would have enabled the five MLAs — four Congress and one JD(S) — from Bengaluru to vote in the polls, disturbing the power equation. However, the court’s decision to adjourn the case to October has relieved the saffron party as the disqualified MLAs have no right to vote. 

Losing bitterly to the Congress-JD(S) coalition despite being the single-largest party in the last four years, the BJP was confident of winning the mayoral polls this time subject to the verdict by the apex court. With no decision on the fate of disqualified MLAs, the BJP’s plans of grabbing the coveted mayor’s post could become a reality, according to sources in the BBMP. 

A senior official of the BBMP’s legal cell said, “Had the top court quashed their disqualification, there were chances of these MLAs casting their vote during mayoral polls. But with the court deferring the hearing further, they will continue to remain disqualified, thereby losing the right to vote in the BBMP Council as MLAs.” 

According to BBMP officials, the total strength of the BBMP Council comprising corporators, MLAs and MLCs has shrunk from 262 to 257. While the majority mark to win the mayoral post all these years was 132, it has come down to 129 this year following a change in the position of parties. 

The BJP — the single-largest party, has 125 members comprising 101 corporators, four Lok Sabha MPs, two Rajya Sabha MPs, 11 MLAs and seven MLCs. At the same time, the Congress-JD(S) coalition, which had a strength of 132 along with seven independents, has been reduced to 125, including 90 corporators, one Lok Sabha MP, seven Rajya Sabha MPs, 12 MLAs and 15 MLCs. With the independent corporators reportedly switching loyalties, the BJP’s calculation has only been strengthened further.