After 22 years, two women helm Bengaluru civic body

Gangambike Mallikarjun and Ramila Umashankar. DH Photo/Chandrahas Kotekar

After 22 years, two women councillors will hold the reins of power in Bengaluru.

Gangambike Mallikarjun of the Congress was elected the 52nd mayor of the city on Friday, while Ramila Umashankar of the JD(S) was chosen the deputy mayor. It was in 1996 that the two posts were last held by women.

Gangambike, of the Jayanagar ward, is the eighth woman mayor of the city. Ramila is the Kaveripura ward councillor.

This is the fourth year of the Congress-JD(S) coalition, with the former holding the top post and the latter the deputy post in BBMP council. This year, both the posts were reserved for women (general).

Out of the 259 voters, only 253 were present during the polling process on Friday. The minimum required number to win was 130.

Six were marked absent by Regional Commissioner Shivayogi Kalsad. They were Roshan Baig, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ananthkumar, Asha Suresh, Nazia Khanam and Lalitha Thimmananjaiah. Lalitha, Peenya Industrial area corporator, missed her attendance by two minutes.

High drama prevailed during voting as the BJP leaders were trying to woo eight independent candidates. The party initially succeeded in getting three among them and even two councillors from the JD(S), but the move fell apart in the end as most of them returned to their party.

BJP boycotts

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy submitted a letter to Kalsad against eight Congress leaders, including Raghu Achar, Jairam Ramesh, C K Manohar and V S Ugrappa, for possessing two voter ID cards and for being residents of other districts. However, Kalsad said it was a legal issue and action has to be taken based on that. The BJP leaders boycotted the election process in the end.

The BJP fielded its candidates for both the posts at the last minute on Friday morning. While Shobha Anjanappa was contesting for the post of mayor, Prathibha Dhanraj from Dattatreya Temple ward filed her nomination papers for the post of deputy mayor.

While Gangambike got 130 votes, Ramila had 129 votes. It is speculated that Shantinagar MLA N A Harris left soon after the mayoral election and didn’t vote for the deputy mayor.

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