Infighting marred BJP's chances in BBMP mayoral poll

The ongoing tussle for one-upmanship between two prominent BJP leaders of the Vokkaliga community — Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka — came to the fore once again, this time during the mayoral election held on Friday.

The BJP's bid to embarrass the JD(S)-Congress coalition suffered a setback as it failed to get its candidate elected as the mayor of Bengaluru. The setback comes days after it backed off from the bypolls to the three vacant seats in the Legislative Council after realising it did not have the numbers.

On Friday morning, speculation was rife that Ashoka has managed to mobilise the numbers to get BJP candidate Prathibha Dhanaraj elected. It was said a few Congress and JD(S) corporators had agreed to cross-vote. The BJP was just seven short of the magic number of 130 in the BBMP council to secure the mayor's post. BBMP corporators, besides MPs and legislators of Bengaluru, form the electoral college.

Ashoka, it is learnt, is said have worked on the strategy to secure the required numbers over the past few days. However, it is said the Gowda camp was not confident of Ashoka's efforts as he failed while making similar bids on previous occasions.

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The camp, it is learnt, was of the opinion that it will be easier for the party to secure the support of the eight independents. It all ended with Gowda, MPs P C Mohan and Rajeev Chandrashekar, and legislators Suresh Kumar and Lahar Singh walking out of the council hall even before the election process started.

Eventually, the BJP boycotted the polls after it was convinced that they did not have the numbers. Ashoka had to suffer the embarrassment of making a vain bid to win the mayor's post.

The rift between Gowda and Ashoka is basically over the domination of the party in Bengaluru. Ashoka is of the opinion that Gowda, who represents the Bengaluru (North) constituency in the Lok Sabha, is an outsider. He wants Gowda to be shifted to Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and the ticket for Bengaluru (North) be given to his cousin A Ravi for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, Gowda feels that Ashoka’s camp had launched a misinformation campaign against him within the party.

The infighting in the Bengaluru unit is also said to be the reason for the party’s debacle in the state capital in the Assembly polls held in May this year.

This is a victory for the coalition. Didn't they (BJP) try to make the coalition a high-voltage affair, saying the government will fall? In the same way, they tried to make the mayoral election high-voltage. But the current did not flow and they fled. It looks like someone took away their fuse
— H D Kumaraswamy, chief minister

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Infighting marred BJP's chances in BBMP mayoral poll

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