It looks ironical, but the city unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has always opposed the voting rights given to nominated councillors, is now treading cautiously on the issue when it has its own government at the Centre.
The change requires an amendment in the Municipal Act, which will take time because only Parliament can make it. But, on January 1 next, the mayoral election will be held and the BJP will need the votes of nominated members to win.
In the 36-member House, there are nine nominated councillors. They cannot contest the mayoral election, but they can definitely swing the election.
Senior BJP leaders, including J P Nadda, the party’s national general secretary, have time and again stated that the role of nominated councillors should be advisory in nature.
Besides, the BJP-SAD councillors have alleged in the past that most of the nominated councillors owed allegiance to the Congress. The majority of the nominated councillors actually supported the Congress on several issues.
Apart from the mayoral elections, they supported the Congress in passing an agenda item for the cancellation of construction of the day market that was going on at Mauli Jagran. On issues like imposition of house tax as well as ward development fund to be provided to nominated councillors, the nominated councillors and Congress councillors supported each other.
Now, after the Lok Sabha election, the strength of the BJP in the House has increased to 13 as the local MP is an ex officio member. The Congress now has 12 councillors and the BSP two. With the difference between the Congress and BJP so small, the result of the mayoral election will hinge on the nominated councillors.
Councillor Arun Sood, who is the leader of the BJP in the House, said that the party was looking at the issue and a decision would be taken after consulting senior leaders.