Finally, Cong set to have its mayor, dy post for JD(S)

After a long gap in recent years, the Congress is all set to have its Mayor in the city, in the Chief Minister's home district. On Wednesday, the election of both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor would be held unanimously. However, the post of the Deputy Mayor would go to the JD(S).

In most of the local self-governing bodies in the district, home to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the power to the ruling Congress party has been elusive. However, by playing the reservation card, the Congress is ready to wrest the last term of the mayor in the Mysuru City Corporation's council, on January 24. The term of the present council ends in September.

In most of the taluk panchayats and also, in the Zilla Panchayat in the district, the Congress is not in a comfortable position and the JD(S) and JD(S)-BJP combine are the ruling parties.

As per the special gazette notification, issued by the Urban Development Secretariat on January 1, the mayor's post is reserved for Scheduled Caste woman and the deputy mayor's post for Scheduled Tribe woman. While there are two eligible candidates for the mayor's post in the Congress - Kamala Uday and S Bhagyavathi - there are none in the present ruling coalition of the BJP-JD(S). There is only one ST woman in the council in the JD(S) - Indira Mahesh, who represents ward 61.

Kamala Uday represents ward 50 under Narasimharaja Assembly constituency and Bhagyavathi represents Ward 23 under Chamaraja Assembly constituency. Their chances of the election depend on the clout of their respective MLAs Tanveer Sait and Vasu with the party high command. A meeting was held in a private resort with corporators and party leaders to arrive at a consensus.

The post of mayor and deputy mayor was vacant since the end of the term of M J Ravi Kumar of the JD(S) and Rathna Lakshman of the BJP, on December 6, 2017. They were elected on December 7, 2016.

The JD(S) and the BJP have been sharing power in the MCC since the council was elected, forcing the Congress to play the role of Opposition. In the 65-member MCC, the Congress had 20 members, JD(S) 20, BJP 13, SDPI two, KJP and BSR Congress one each and eight Independents. The lone KJP member B L Bhyrappa and Independent corporator Ashwini Ananthu have joined the JD(S), taking its strength to 22.

The BSR Congress member has joined the SDPI and all the three members support the Congress. So, the Congress has 23 votes. Besides, there are three MLAs (M K Somasekhar, Vasu, and Tanveer Sait) and an MLC (R Dharmasena) from the Congress. Hence, the Congress has 27 votes in all. The JD(S) has an MLA (G T Devegowda) and three MLCs (Sandesh Nagaraj, K T Srikantegowda, and Marithibbegowda), taking the JD(S) tally to 26. The BJP has an MP (Pratap Simha), so it is assured of 14 votes.

In the current council, the mayor's post had been reserved for the general category thrice and for 2-A category once. Meanwhile, Corporator R Ravindra Kumar, an Independent, had filed an application before the Karnataka High Court, seeking a stay to the Mayor's election.

He had questioned the reservation pattern for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. "The state government had reserved the posts for SC and ST, respectively during the previous council. Now, again, before completing six years, the government has reserved the posts for the same category," he said. However, his petition is yet to be admitted.

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