Cong picks Jayanagar corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun as Bengaluru mayoral candidate

The Bengaluru mayoral elections will be held on Friday.
Cong picks Jayanagar corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun as Bengaluru mayoral candidate
Cong picks Jayanagar corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun as Bengaluru mayoral candidate

The Karnataka Congress late on Thursday evening confirmed that Gangambike Mallikarjun will be the party's candidate for the Bengaluru Mayoral elections to be held on Friday.

This time the position for Mayor was reserved for women candidates. The party decided to go with Gangambike, a corporator from Jayanagar, following a meeting on Thursday evening.

Gangambike was chosen ahead of Sowmya Shivakumar, a corporator from Shantinagar, on the insistence of former Home Minister and Congress veteran Ramalinga Reddy. Reddy, who has been heavily involved with the selection of mayoral candidates in the past, backed Gangambike while Sowmya was backed by Congress leader NA Haris. However, Gangambike also had the backing of senior Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, as she belongs to the Veerashaiva community.

Ramalinga Reddy was also pivotal in forging the JD(S)-Congress alliance within the BBMP in 2015 when none of the parties had a majority in the city council. While the BJP emerged the single largest party with 100 seats in the 198 wards council, Congress managed to win 75 seats and JD(S) won 25. The rest eight seats were secured by independent candidates.

Although BJP has a simple majority in the 198 ward council, Gangambike seems to be a clear favourite to become the 52nd mayor of the city succeeding current Mayor Sampath Raj. Although the BBMP Council is made up of 198 corporators representing each ward in Bengaluru, MPs residing in Bengaluru, MLAs and MLCs can vote in this poll.

The eight independent candidates who were wooed by both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine are also likely to side with the Congress, like they did the last three times. Currently, out of a total 259 votes, BJP has 100 corporators, 3 Lok Sabha MPs, two Rajya Sabha MPs, 11 MLAs and 7 MLCs. This brings BJP’s total tally to 123.

Meanwhile, the Congress-JD(S) combine has 90 corporators, two Lok Sabha MPs, 7 Rajya Sabha MPs, 17 MLAs and 12 MLCs. This means with the support of just two more independent corporators, they can reach the magic figure of 130.

Gangambike will hope to succeed R Sampath Raj who bows out of his role as mayor on Friday after completing a year's term in charge. In the same arrangement, JD(S)’s Ramila Umashankar will become the Deputy Mayor succeeding her party colleague.

Meanwhile, a resort politics seemed to have begun ahead of Friday's election, with the BJP taking two independent corporators to a city hotel while Congress has taken five independent councillors to Eaglteon resort.  

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