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BJP Just About Retains BBMP

In first since ’83, ruling party in state loses civic polls in capital; Cong’s neglect of city, quota rejig soften anti-incumbency

Published: 26th August 2015 04:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th August 2015 04:44 AM   |  A+A-

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BENGALURU: The BJP has won the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections by managing a slim majority. The party won 100 of the 198 wards in the August 22 polls, the results for which were announced on Tuesday.

Though the party gets to nominate the next mayor, its tally has, in fact, gone down by 11 seats from the 2010 BBMP elections.

With 76 seats, the Congress has managed to improve its tally by 11. The JD(S) won 14 seats, one less than its tally in the previous elections. Independents have won in seven wards. The Social Democratic Party of India got one seat.

Failed Bid

The ruling party’s campaign, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, failed to swing votes in its favour.

The CM had addressed rallies in all 27 Assembly constituencies and even deputed one minister to each segment to oversee the campaign.

The chargesheet against the BJP and the flurry of schemes that Siddaramaiah talked about at the last minute made little difference to voters.

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Other factors that might have worked against the Congress are its move to trifurcate the civic body, its shoddy attempts to put off the elections and its perceived failures on the roads and garbage front. Although garbage clearance and upkeep of roads are the civic body’s responsibility, and the BJP regime at the BBMP had messed up matters, the Congress government was seen as indifferent to the city’s problems.

The BJP, accused of rampant corruption and incompetence at the BBMP, turned the tables on the Congress by making the trifurcation proposal a contentious election issue. It accused the Congress of trying to break up the city.

Ex-Mayors Win: The changed ward reservation helped moderate the anti-incumbency against the BJP. Former mayors, during whose tenure garbage management  had snowballed into a major crisis, have managed to win. The BJP had given tickets to 21 former councillors. Of them, only five lost.

For the first time since 1983, a party in power at the Vidhana Soudha has lost a civic election in the state capital. This, senior Congress leaders say, delivers a message.

“It is a warning bell. The message is loud and clear. The perception of people matters more than we imagine, and Bengaluru needs more attention,” said former Union minister M V Rajashekharan.

A majority in the new BBMP Council will be women. Thanks to 50 per cent reservation, it was a foregone conclusion that at least half the members would be women. Some, like former mayor Shanthakumari, have won from a general category ward. 

Taking into account the new ward reservation list, the major parties gave tickets to new faces, including the wives, sons and brothers of former councillors and MLAs. Many of them won.

“Eleven former councillors’ wives contested, and 10 won. Husbands of two women councillors were given tickets and they too won. The daughter of a former councillor also won,” Rajashekharan said. The BJP believes it could have fared better had the ward reservations not been modified. “We would easily touched 130,” said BJP city unit president Subba Narasimha.

The BJP had given tickets to 21 former councillors, of whom five lost. The JD(S) had fielded five former councillors and not one of them won. District in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy said the Congress had given 27 tickets to former councillors. Some of them, such as M Nagaraj (Nandini Layout), K Doddanna (Attiguppe) and Uday Shankar (Siddapura), lost.

Seniors Exit: Many senior candidates, including M Uday Shankar (Siddapura) and M Nagaraj (Nandini Layout) - both of whom had won three times from the Congress - were shown the door. Former JD(S) floor leader R Prakash from Mudalpalya, former deputy mayor S Harish (Nagapura) and A H Basavaraju (Banashankari temple) from the BJP have also lost.

Modi Glitter?

During the Lok Sabha elections last year, the BJP used Narendra Modi’s name to woo voters. “It worked. During the BBMP elections, candidates again used Modi’s image on hoardings, pamphlets and campaign material. It may have worked to a slight extent,” a party leader said.

Who Will be Mayor?

This time, the mayor’s post will go to the General category, while the deputy’s post is for a woman in the same category. The BJP has called mayoral aspirants for a meeting. Some names doing the rounds are N Nagaraju (Byrasandra), Umesh Shetty (Govindarajanagar), and Padmanabha Reddy (Kacharakanahalli).



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