It's possible for Congress-JD(S) to elbow the BJP even though it emerged the largest party in civic polls

Will BJP lose Bengaluru Mayor post to a possible JD S-Congress alliance
news Monday, August 31, 2015 - 12:06

Possibly for the first time, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s past connection with the Janata Dal (Secular) has worked in his favour as JD (S) councilors appear to be in favour of teaming up with a former party man rather than with the BJP.

By Sunday evening, an informal agreement was reportedly made between the Congress and the JD (S), but an official announcement was yet to be made. If the agreement comes through, then the two parties would be able to elect a mayor, edging out the BJP even though it has emerged as the single largest party with 100 corporators.

Read: BJP wins most seats in Bengaluru polls, but will the BBMP be snatched away from it?

According to The Times of India, the Congress high command has given the go ahead for the alliance but H D Deve Gowda’s assent is awaited.

Although the party has only 14 corporators, this number is enough to give the party much bargaining power. This peculiar situation arises because of the nature of the BBMP council, which gives voting rights not just to the 198 corporators elected from wards, but also other city elected representatives.

In the meanwhile, JD (S) corporators and six independents have been camped out in resorts in Kerala since Friday, to wait out the time until September 2, when the JD (S) will hold a meeting of corporators and legislators in Bengaluru. 

The BJP has 100 members in the council the Congress 76, and JD (S) 14. But in the extended council of 255, any party will require a halfway mark of 128 members to elect a mayor.

The BJP, which was earlier confident of winning the mayoral election, later realised that it would lose some of its supporters in the extended council when their term ended and is now forced to step up its efforts to woo the JD (S).

On Saturday, union law minister DV Sadananda Gowda spoke to JD (S) chief Deve Gowda, who remained non-commital, The New Indian Express reported. Both he and his son H D Kumaraswamy appear to have left matters to B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan and two other city MLAs who brokered a deal with the Congress.

More than just prestige?

According to a report in The Hindu, assuming power in the BBMP is not just a matter of prestige in the current scenario. One reason that the battle is always a keenly contested one is because it is reportedly a very lucrative position to be in.

In the days following the counting of votes, there were media reports of bargaining for two things in exchange for support – cash and membership of a standing committee.

The Hindu report explains why standing committees are important to the councilors. In 2015-16, the BBMP’s budget is Rs 6,728 crore. Stating that 130 of the 198 councillors in the last council were members of standing committees, the report says: “Unlike the standing committees in the Assembly or Parliament where it is more like an advisory body, BBMP has 12 standing committees that award contracts for projects, a major source of corruption.

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