Elections for the post of Bengaluru’s municipal corporation, BBMP, will be held on Tuesday with the significance far-reaching for state politics too. After the collapse of the coalition government in the state, elections for the post of mayor, deputy mayor and heads of four standing committees will also be a test of opposition strength in the state.
BJP has a total of four Lok Sabha MPs belonging to the BBMP limits while Congress has just one. The Congress had nominated six MPs to Rajya Sabha, BJP two and the JD(S) just one. Of the 198 wards, Congress has 76 corporations, JD(S) has 14 and BJP has 101. Of the 23 MLAs from the city allowed to vote, 11 belong to Congress, 11 belong to BJP and done to JD(S).
Despite being the single largest party with 101 seats in 2015, the combined strength of Congress and JD(S) ensured that they occupy the post of mayor and deputy mayor every year since. This time, the BJP hopes to regain power at the corporation level, with the reduced number of Congress and lack of understanding between the two parties after the collapse of the coalition government in the state.
So far, a total of seven nominations have been filed for the position of mayor. BJP has nominated Gautham from Jogupalya ward and Padmanabha Reddy from Kacharakana Halli ward. For the post of deputy mayor, BJP has nominated Mahalakshmi Ravindra from Hosahalli ward, Gurumurthy Reddy from HSR Layout ward and Rajmohan Raj from Bommanahalli ward. Congress-JD(S) combined candidate for mayor is Sathyanarayana from Dattatreya Nagarajan ward and for deputy mayor Gangamma from Shakthi Ganapathi Nagarajan ward.
Of the seven independent corporators, five have already pledged their support to the BJP. Three of them, Ramesh, Lakshminarayana and Gayathri, were holed up in a resort in Goa last few days to avoid poaching by opposition parties.
The war of words between senior leaders of the two parties has cast a shadow of doubt over opposition unity in Karnataka. While they have decided to call it quits over the state-level alliance for bypolls, their bonhomie at the corporation level is to continue for now, but the mayoral elections will be its litmus test.
In view of the high-profile, high-octane polls, section 144 has been imposed around BBMP headquarters, under the Halasuru gate police station limits from 6 am to midnight.