Cong’s Gangambike elected Mayor amidst BJP walkout

Gangambike Mallikarjun and Ramila Umashankar

Bengaluru: Congress candidate Gangambike Mallikarjun was Friday elected the 52nd Mayor of Bengaluru and its coalition partner JDS’ Ramila Umashankar the Deputy Mayor amid a walkout by BJP protesting alleged violation of rules.

Hitting back, Congress accused the BJP of indulging in horse trading and walking out after failing to muster the numbers. Both the winning candidates got 130 votes each, the minimum required in the electoral college of 259. There were six absentees – union ministers Anant Kumar and Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress’ Roshan Baig, Lalita, Asha Suresh and Nazeem Khan.

BJP, though the single largest in the corporation council, lacked the numbers having only 123 votes in the electoral college, which comprises MPs, MLAs and MLCs from the city besides the corporators.

The election was marred by a scuffle between section of Congress-JDS and BJP corporators as two JDS members – Manjula Narayanaswamy and Devdas – joined hands with the saffron party. After the party walked out before voting, BJP leader R Ashoka alleged the election officials were favouring Congress.

“Even after the deadline ended at 11.30 am, the officials and the coalition corporators, were allowing unlawful signing up for voting,” he charged. Hence, in protest, the BJP staged a walkout, he added. BJP had announced Shobha Anjanappa and Prathibha Dhanarah as its candidates for Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts.

In retaliation, Congress alleged BJP was indulging in horse trading. “BJP walks out after #OperationKamala Failure,” the party tweeted, in a reference to the saffron party’s strategy to attain majority in 2008 in the assembly.

Congress also flayed Sitharaman’s absence, saying it “reflected her concern” towards Bengaluru. The party had huddled five independent corporators supporting it at a resort on the city outskirts after two other corporators switched loyalties to BJP Thursday.

The election for mayor and deputy mayor of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was necessitated with the term of Sampath Raj and Padmavathi Narasimhamurthy coming to an end Thursday. Though the council has a term of five years, both mayor and deputy mayor have a term of 11 months.