August 25, 2015 5:57:17 pm
The future is tense for Bengaluru. The verdict in local polls held in the city last week has thrown up the BJP as a clear victor with 100 seats. The verdict, in an election where the majority of the city’s electorate did not turn out to vote, bucked the trend of parties in power in Karnataka winning the city polls. The concern is, however, that the ruling Congress party in the state, which won 76 of the 198 seats in the city, could turn vindictive in the face of the election loss.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike that the BJP will take over for the second successive time is in poor financial and administrative health. Hundreds of contractors who worked on projects in the city in the past few years have not been paid and the city’s debt is nearly Rs 5,000 crore. The city is dependent on annual grants from the state government to keep itself from collapse.
A stand-off two years ago between garbage contractors and administrators over new contracts that mandated waste segregation resulted in a garbage crisis that grabbed international attention.
The concern in the BJP ranks over having to work with a Congress government in Bengaluru was evident soon after the results with several senior BJP leaders calling on the Congress to work in a bipartisan manner with the city council over the next three years for the sake of Bengaluru.
The Congress on its part has been blaming the BJP tenure in the state for running the BBMP into the ground. The Congress is likely to move for a dissolution of the currently elected council in the event of the President giving his assent to a bill for the division of the city into smaller units.
The Congress had attempted to stall the elections to the city council in the guise of dividing Bengaluru into smaller units for better administration. The intervention of the judiciary forced the Congress to push ahead with the elections despite the reluctance of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The BJP promises to make a truly modern city out of Bengaluru on the back of its mandate. For this to happen the Congress will have to play tango.
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