Senior leaders of the BJP have kept former mayors on tenterhooks by saying that the seniors may not be fielded again for the BBMP elections.
In the first list, the name of none of the five former mayors appears due to various reasons. However, the party has not announced that the seniors should make way for the juniors who are eager to contest the polls. The BJP, in its five-year term, had given five mayors - S K Nataraj (ward-Sarakki), Sharadamma (Shettihalli), D Venkatesh Murthy (Katriguppe), Katte Satyanarayana (Basavanagudi) and Shanthakumari (Moodalapalya).
Sharadamma, who had contested from the ward reserved for the Scheduled Castes, can’t contest from the same constituency because it has been dereserved. She is not willing to contest from any other reserved ward, her husband said.
In case of Nataraj, the Sarakki ward has been reserved for women (general) this time. After losing an opportunity to contest again, he has opted to field his wife from the JP Nagar ward. “It was the decision of my party to field her as I could not contest from Sarakki,” he said.
One former mayor who is fretting and fuming is Katte Satyanarayana, who represented the Basavanagudi ward in the dissolved Council. It is rumoured that the party is fielding former corporator M Venkatesh from Basavanagudi.
Venkatesh said, “The party is not keen on fielding former mayors. I was elected last time from the Vidyapeetha ward which is now reserved for women. I am keen on contesting from Basavanagudi. The party has promised me a ticket,” he said.
However, Satyanarayana finds no reason for the party to set him aside as candidate. “I have been with the party for the last three decades. What blunder have I committed as a corporator or mayor? Can seniority be a deterring factor to serve the party? MLAs contest even after becoming chief minister,” he said.
To a question as to why the party is not keen on fielding him, he said, “A local leader in Basavanagudi is not able to tolerate my presence and growth. The Basavanagudi ward falls under the general category. Why should a person from a neighbouring reserved ward come to the Basavanagudi ward (general) to contest?” Venkatesh Murthy is more hopeful of trying his electoral fortunes from the Katriguppe ward this time too.
“Last time, the ward fell under the 2A category, while this time it is general. Still, I am going to contest from here.” He is said to be close to K S Eshwarappa. Another former mayor Shanthakumari is confidently campaigning for herself. She has hit the streets despite the party not yet clearing her name. Because of the revised reservation, she can’t contest again from Moodalapalya. She said she would be the candidate from the Maruthi Mandir ward. “My leader V Somanna has asked me to campaign for the party and I am doing so for the last one week,” she said.