Congress grabs Bengaluru mayor post from BJP

Bengaluru, Sep 11 (IANS) Karnataka’s ruling Congress on Friday outsmarted BJP by getting its councillor B.N. Manjunath Reddy elected mayor of the Bengaluru civic body with the support of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and independents.

Though BJP emerged as the single largest party in the August 22 election to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) winning 100 of the 198 civic wards, its candidate Manjunath Raju lost the mayoral contest to the Congress nominee by three votes.

JD-S bagged the deputy mayor post, with its first-time councillor S.P. Hemalatha defeating BJP’s H.C. Nagarathna.

In the poll, whose results were declared on August 25, Congress won 76, JD-S 14, independents seven and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) one.

An independent woman corporator, who was a rebel candidate in the fray, joined the BJP on August 26, taking its total to 101, two more than the half-way mark.

With 62 lawmakers from Parliament and state legislature representing Bengaluru also having voting rights in the mayoral contest, the total number of votes in the BBMP’s electoral college is 260.

According to regional commissioner M.V. Jayanthi, who conducted the polls as presiding officer, Reddy and Hemalatha secured 131 votes as against 128 by Raju and Nagarathna for the top twin posts, while members to 12 standing committees were elected unopposed.

Reddy is a three-time corporator from Madiwala ward in the southwest suburbs, while Hemalatha is from Vrushabhavathi Nagar ward.

A shocked BJP cried foul over the unholy alliance of the Congress and JD-S to grab the BBMP from behind as both of them did not have the mandate.

In the previous (2010) civic poll, BJP won 111, Congress 65, JD-s 15 and independents seven.

The mayoral poll result, however, is subject to the Karnataka High Court final ruling on a writ petition filed by five BJP councillors, challenging section 10 of the Karnataka Municipal Act, 1976, which allows non-councillors (lawmakers) to vote in the mayoral poll.

Justice Raghavendra Chavan passed the interim order on September 9.

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