The political manoeuvring by the Congress and JD(S) has paid off: For the second year running, they teamed up to win the Bengaluru mayoral election and keep the BJP – which has a majority – out of power.
Following the election on Wednesday, the Congress’ Padmavati was elected Bengaluru’s 50th Mayor, after much ruckus in the Council. The election for the Deputy Mayor is yet to begin.
Padmatvati was elected by 142 votes. Of these 112 votes were from the Congress, 23 from the JD(S), and seven from independents. In order to be elected Mayor, a candidate needs more than 50% of the votes.
Ahead of the elections, Congress Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao told The News Minute they were confident that their candidate would win the polls that are scheduled on Wednesday.
Asked about the propriety of teaming up to keep the largest party out of power, Dinesh did not answer, but hung up the phone.
The Congress officially announced its candidate for the post some hours before the elections were to be held. G. Padmavathi (56), is four-time councillor from Prakash Nagar ward. Padmavati defeated the BJP’s candidate, Lakshmi Umesh from Ganesha Mandira ward. The party has fielded Gurumurthy Reddy of HSR Layout ward as deputy mayor.
Confusion prevailed in the Council for some time while voting was going on, as a handful of voters arrived late and were barred from exercising their franchise.
In August 2015, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 100 seats and 41% of the vote share, while the Congress and JD(S) won 76 and 14 seats respectively. The Congress obtained 39% of the votes. Seven seats were won by independents.
After the elections, the state’s infamous “resort politics” was in full display and BJP mayoral candidate lost as expected. The Congress and JD(S) got together to elect N Manjunath Reddy of the Congress as the Mayor of Bengaluru with 131 votes, the exact number required to elect a candidate.
Last year as now, the Congress is said to have resorted to this move to ensure a smooth running of the BBMP, which could be impeded with a different party in power. The 2015 elections were also the first time in 30 years when the party heading the state government failed to win a majority in the BBMP.
There are a total of 260 votes in the BBMP Council, which is made up of not just the ward councillors, but also MLAs, MLCs, and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs from Karnataka as well.