The new Mayor of Bengaluru will be elected on 1 October. That is if Bengaluru Regional Commissioner Harsh Gupta has how way. He is keen to follow the rule book that says the new Mayor has to be elected to succeed the present one Gangambike Mallikarjun, whose one-year term ended on 27 September.
What’s then the problem?
The BJP for one worked all through Monday trying to find a consensus candidate. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa and Karnataka BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel are reportedly not on the same page on who should be Mayor. Which is why the BJP is in favor of the postponement of the election.
Two, the strength of the Council that will elect the Mayor (the 198 corporators, MPs, MLAs from Bengaluru) is now 257 after the disqualification of five MLAs from the Karnataka Assembly. The contest is poised tantalisingly with both the BJP and Congress-JDS combine having 125 votes each (Congress 104, JDS 21). There are seven independent Corporators. The magic figure is 129.
For the BJP that came to power in Karnataka after a bitter and protracted Trust vote debate in the Vidhana Soudha, losing the Mayor’s post would be a huge embarrassment. It needs to secure the support of the majority of the independents and also split the Congress-JDS ranks. More so, when deputy CM Ashwath Narayan is from Bengaluru and was brought in to create a new leadership for the party in the city.
The drama that is expected to unfold has got the surround sound in the form of Section 144 imposed around the BBMP headquarters, a sign of how fractured the politics of the state and the city have become.
Update : BJP has chosen Gautam Kumar as its Mayor candidate and Gurumurthy Reddy for the post of Deputy Mayor