Congress Corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun was elected as the 52nd Mayor of BBMP on Friday. She garnered 130 votes and defeated her BJP counterpart Shoba Anjanappa. JD(S)' Ramila Umashankar was elected as her deputy. The run up to the Mayoral polls this time around turned out to be a lot dramatic than usual. The power struggle for the top job in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP was replete with resort politics, brawl and mudslinging.
The lobbying for the post of the Mayor began in August, with congress leader and MLA Shamanur Shivashankarappa demanding Jayanagar Corporator Gangambike to be declared as Congress' candidate. As this year the post of the Mayor was reserved for a woman from GM category, Shamanur's letter to Rahul Gandhi recommending her for the top job sealed the deal.
The BJP on the other hand with a full-fledged majority planned to upset Congress and JD(S)' plans by trying to rope in independent Corporators. But there plans failed as Congress and JD(S) kept their pack together.
There are a total of 259 seats which includes 198 councillors apart from MLAs, MLCs and MPs who're eligible for voting in the Mayoral polls. Although, the BJP is the single largest party in the council with 123 seats, the winning side would need 130 to prove majority. The BJP ended up short of the majority mark whereas the combined strength of Congress(106 seats) and JD(S) (22) along with other independent Corporators ensured the alliance a comfortable victory.
On September 27, around five independent Corporators were escorted to Eagleton resort in Ramanagara on grounds of shielding them from horse trading ahead of the Mayoral polls. Along with them were Congress MLAs who ensured they landed directly in the BBMP council the next day.
Initially, when the polling began Padmanabha Reddy from the BJP who is also the leader of opposition in the council filed objections for the Voting Rights of four members : Jairam Ramesh, Raghu Achar, V S Ugrappa and C R Manohar. But, the objection was over ruled by the Regional Commissioner.
BJP and Congress Corporators got into a scuffle on the floor of the house after the former's objections were overruled. BJP leaders shouted slogans against the Congress and staged a walked out. Also some BJP and Congress leaders were absent or did not sign during the polling, those include union ministers H N Ananth Kumar and Nirmala Seetharaman, Congress MLA Roshab Baig, Corporators Asha Suresh, Nadeem Khanun and Lalitha.
After the walk out by BJP, Gangambike was elected unopposed with 130 votes. Although an intense drama took place in the run up to the Mayoral polls, the first citizen of Bengaluru has a major task at hand in bringing the debt-ridden BBMP back in track.