The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged the single largest party in the civic polls, winning 100 out of 198 seats in the recently concluded elections for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Though the party trumped the Congress and JD(S), there is a possibility that it may lose the elections for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) claim they have the numbers to elect a person of their choice.
In a political maneuver that has created much headache for the BJP, the Congress and JD(S) are planning to come together to outsmart the BJP. The local media is full of stories on horse-trading, secret meetings and of corporators being tucked away in resorts.
Six independent corporators were taken to Kerala on Friday by the Congress and 14 JD(S) councillors too have been moved to Kerala.
While the BJP has 100 seats, the Congress won 76, JDS won 14 and independents secured 8 seats this election.
But when it comes to the election for the Mayor, there are actually 255 votes, not 198.
Where did the additional votes come from?
BBMP’s complicated administrative set up involves the granting of voting rights to not just councilors who are elected from BBMP wards, also 56 ex-officio members – MLAs, members of city local bodies who are MLCs, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members from the city.
A break up of the figures shows that there are 28 MLAs, 15 MLCs, five Lok Sabha members and eight Rajya Sabha members.
After the results, the BJP appeared jubilant, and national president Amit Shah came to the city to congratulate the state unit. However, developments in the days since, have left the party somewhat stunned as the Congress began talks with both the Janata Dal (Secular) and the independents in a bid to cobble together 128 votes to elect a mayor.
By some estimates, the Congress actually appears to be in the lead, but the BJP too is confident of obtaining the requisite numbers.
While the BJP has 126 members, just two short of the 128 half way mark. The congress on the other hand is trying to add 7 independents and 21 JD(S) members to its 101.
And as usual, it is the JD (S) and independents who are set to play kingmaker again. JD(S) has 14 councillors in the BBMP and 3 MLAs, 3 MLCs and one Rajya Sabha member. But, JD(S) state President HD Kumaraswamy after meeting party MLAs and corporators on Saturday denied that there had been any formal proposal from the Congress.
Though Kumaraswamy is denying it, Karnataka’s political history is replete with instances of unlikely partners coming together to form and topple governments at all levels.