Four years after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council elections, two corporators from the party secured the top elected posts of Bangalore’s local civic body after high drama over nominations for the Mayor post.
Jogupalya corporator M Gowtham Kumar was elected Bengaluru’s new Mayor on Tuesday, and CS Rammohan Raju, corporator from Bommanahalli ward, his deputy.
Earlier today, cracks within the BJP camp came out in the open after former BBMP Council opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy chose to file a nomination to contest for the Mayor’s post.
According to BJP leaders outside the BBMP head office, where the elections took place, the party had decided on Gowtham Kumar as the Mayoral candidate after a series of meetings held on Monday.
However, as both corporators refused to budge from their decision to contest, state BJP chief Nalinkumar Kateel convened an urgent meeting, after which Reddy chose to withdraw his nomination.
Meanwhile, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) decided to continue their alliance in the Council. While Dattatreya Temple ward corporator Sathyanarayana (Congress) filed nominations for the Mayor’s post, JD(S) corporator from Shakthiganapathi Nagar ward Gangamma decided to contest for the Deputy Mayor’s post.
The Congress-JD(S) alliance, however, failed to taste success yet again as some of their MLAs had to refrain from voting on basis of their disqualification from legislatorship by the then speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. The five city MLAs from the then Congress-JD(S) coalition include N Munirathna, S T Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, K Gopalaiah, and R Roshan Baig.
The 257-vote electoral college that elects the top posts of the BBMP includes five Lok Sabha (LS) MPs, nine Rajya Sabha (RS) MPs, 23 MLAs, and 22 MLCs apart from the 198 corporators elected from each ward of the BBMP.
Among the popular leaders who chose to give the polls a miss were Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (BJP RS MP from Karnataka), former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh (Congress RS MP from Karnataka), and D K Suresh (Congress LS MP from Bangalore Rural).
43-year-old M Goutham Kumar, Bengaluru’s new Mayor is a graduate in Commerce. He has been serving as the corporator of Jogupalya ward in Shantinagar legislative constituency for the last 9 years. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/gYVVYjBsrL
— Ralph Alex Arakal (@ralpharakal) October 1, 2019
While the new Mayor Kumar, a second-time corporator from Jogupalya, secured 129 votes his opponent Sathyanarayana managed to get 110 votes. At the same time, Raju was elected as Deputy Mayor after polling 129 votes against his opponent Gangamma who secured 108 votes.
Soon after the results were announced, Kannada activist and president of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, Vatal Nagaraj staged a protest infront of BBMP head office “condemning’ the election of a non-Kannadiga” to the top post. “A true Kannadiga should have been elected instead of a Marwadi (Jain),” he said. He was later taken away by the police.
Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj stages protest outside BBMP head office over new BBMP Mayor, he says a non Kannadiga have been elected as a Mayor. @IndianExpress @IExpressSouth pic.twitter.com/yFNYO6B2F2
— Darshan Devaiah B P (@DarshanDevaiahB) October 1, 2019
Kumar, a 43-year-old commerce graduate, hails from the Jain community from Siruguppa in Ballari district with roots in North India and is also the first North-Indian origin Mayor of the city.
Congratulations on being elected as the Mayor for Bengaluru, Sri Gautam Kumar.
As a Yuva Morcha karyakarta, you had shown dedication and ability for hardwork. I am confident that you will bring those qualities to help Bengaluru in your term. #BBMPMayor
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) October 1, 2019
Congratulating the new Mayor, Bangalore South LS MP Tejasvi Surya wrote on Twitter, “Congratulations on being elected as the Mayor for Bengaluru, Sri Gautam Kumar. As a Yuva Morcha karyakarta, you had shown dedication and ability for hardwork. I am confident that you will bring those qualities to help Bengaluru in your term.”
Kumar said he will give priority to handling the garbage crisis faced by the city. “Apart from this, we will ensure that a complete ban on single-use plastic is in place,” he said in his first media address after taking over his new designation.
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