With support from Janata Dal (Secular) and Independents, Congress today clinched the coveted Mayor post as it edged out BJP by a slender three vote margin in the keenly contested city civic body poll.
Congress nominee B N Manjunath Reddy was elected Mayor of Bengaluru securing 131 votes while his rival B Manjunath Raju of BJP managed to get 128 votes.
BJP, which had emerged as the single largest party in the August 22 polls to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) bagging 100 of the 198 wards, dubbed the Mayoral poll outcome as being against the people’s mandate to it.
However, the mayoral poll result is subject to the outcome of a petition by BJP corporators in the Karnataka High Court challenging the Section 10 of Karnataka Municipal Act 1976, which allows both non-corporators and corporators to vote in the Mayoral poll.
First-time JDS corporator S P Hemalatha, wife of MLA K Gopalaiah, was elected as Deputy Mayor securing 131 votes in the electoral college of 260, which included 62 non-corporators comprising members of Parliament, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Councils.
Congress and JDS came together to gain control of the IT City’s civic body on their higher combined strength, including non-corporators.
Regional Commissioner Jayanthi, Presiding officer, declared the results.
Congratulating Reddy on becoming the new Mayor, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters that as expected the Congress-JDS combination won the mayoral poll because the BJP did not enjoy majority in BBMP Council.
Interestingly, BJP, which had kept its fingers crossed by banking on absentees in the Congress-JDS-Independents combine to scrape through the number-game, decided to allow its MPs and legislators to take part in the election today.
Union Minister and veteran BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said even though Congress and JDS have come together to gain majority in the BBMP Council, it did not reflect the people’s mandate.
“By coming together, they (JDS and Congress) managed majority in the election, but that does not reflect people’s mandate which was given to BJP,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said the party would make all efforts to build the image of Bengaluru.
“Whatever we had promised to the people before the election, we will try to meet them. We will also make all efforts to build the brand of Bengaluru,” he said replying to a question.
Asked how long the Congress and JDS alliance would last, Siddaramaih said, “For the next five years.