BENGALURU: The stage is set for the high-stakes mayoral election on Friday, which is likely to go down to the wire. Though the Congress-JD(S) coalition supported by independents claims to have the edge over the BJP, the slim margin is likely to give some tense moments to both sides till the end.
The election assumes significance with the Congress and JD(S) forging an alliance to upset BJP’s plans and wrest control of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council even after the saffron party won a simple majority in the August 22 polls.
The BJP had won 100 wards out of 198, the Congress 76, JD(S) 14 and others 8. Besides corporators, the 260-member BBMP council includes 62 other members from Bengaluru with voting rights. They include Members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, MLAs and MLCs.
With the magic number to gain control over BBMP being 131, the Congress-JD(S) alliance claims to have a combined strength of 132, while the BJP says it has 128 to 130 members.
In the backdrop of the JD(S) deciding to join hands with the Congress for the mayoral polls, the BJP had filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court, challenging Section 10 of the Karnataka Municipal Act 1976, which allows both non-corporators and corporators to participate in the mayoral poll.
The court on Wednesday ordered that the result of the mayoral election would be subject to the outcome of the petition. The police have made elaborate security arrangements in and around the BBMP premises to ensure that there are no untoward incidents during the According to the notification issued by the regional commissioner, the process for the election of mayor and deputy mayor will begin with the filing of nominations by the candidates between 8 am and 9 am.
Corporators from both sides, camping in resorts in and outside the state, are likely to arrive directly from the resorts to the BBMP headquarters.
“We are not into horse-trading. After the meeting at our head office, we moved our councillors to the Golden Palm resorts. Being together is strength. We will come directly to the BBMP headquarters on Friday morning from the resort,” BJP city unit president Subba Narasimha said.
Meanwhile, 73 Congress corporators returned to Bengaluru on Thursday afternoon after their stay at two resorts on the outskirts of Madikeri. The team was led by Congress MLA Somashekar, who is also the president of Bengaluru City Congress.
Kachakarahalli ward councillor Padmanabha Reddy and Byrasandra ward Nagaraju are said to be the contenders for the mayor’s post from BJP. The name will be finalised in the morning. Nagarthna Ramamurthy from Pattabhiramanagar is eyeing the deputy mayor post.
A BJP leader claimed that some independents do not want to vote for those two parties.
“They are likely to be absent on Friday, which will favour the BJP,” he said.
If the coalition wins, according to the understanding, Congress will occupy the mayor’s chair, while JD(S) gets the deputy mayor’s post. From Congress, Manjunath Reddy (Madiwala), Uday Kumar (Hagaduru), Shivaraj (Shankar Mutt) and Gunashekar (Jayamahal) are some of the frontrunners for the mayoral poll.
JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu said that they have finalised the name of Hemalatha Gopalaiah from Vrishabhavathinagar ward for the deputy mayor’s post.
■ Nominations for mayor and deputy mayor posts will be received between 8 am and 9 am
■ Councillors to take oath between 12 noon and 1 pm
■ After 1 pm, regional election commissioner will initiate election process