BENGALURU: Three-time Congress councillor Manjunath Reddy became the 49th Mayor of Bengaluru city, while first-time member Hemalatha from the JD(S) was elected the 50th Deputy Mayor. Each got 131 of the 259 votes.
Everything worked out as planned for the Congress-JD(S) combine, which forced a situation in the BBMP where votes of non-council members turned the tide in Friday’s mayoral polls. The BJP, which was jubilant after winning 100 of the 198 seats in the BBMP council in the recent elections, had to be content with the Opposition status. Terming the election undemocratic, the BJP said it will launch an agitation. “We will file a case in the high court,” said former deputy chief minister R Ashok.
Deadlock a Day
Reddy (52), had served as Opposition leader for two consecutive years, while Hemalatha (41), a diploma holder, is the wife of JD(S) MLA Gopalaiah from Mahalakshmi Layout. The newly-elected mayor and his deputy said they were confident the council will complete five years, and will provide good administration. But experts say that won’t be easy without a majority in the council. With the BJP in majority, day-to-day business could be hit and the Congress will have a tough time getting resolutions passed.
In the first such case in the BBMP, three senior Union ministers — D V Sadananda Gowda, H N Ananthkumar and Venkaiah Naidu — cast votes. The BJP had fielded Manjunath Raju from Kadu Malleshwara ward for the mayor’s post and H C Nagarathna from Pattabhiramanagar ward for the deputy’s post. Both polled 128 votes and lost.
House Arrest: Congress, JD(S) and some Independent members, who had been herded off to resorts after the elections, were put under “house arrest” for close to five hours as soon as they arrived at the BBMP office. Lunch, snacks and coffee were supplied inside the jam-packed hall, with the Congress members in tri-coloured shawls, the BJP in saffron and the JD(S) green.
Later, Congress MLA Muniratna was seen handing tri-coloured shawls to independents.
Of the 260 members, including 198 councillors, MLAs, MLCs and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, Vijay Mallya was the only absentee. He is said to be on a business trip abroad. no harm if councillors’ husbands advise them, says hemalatha: