BBMP power struggle: Voting rights of MLCs holds key

As many as 260 public representatives are eligible to cast their votes in the mayoral elections

Bengaluru: The BBMP Mayoral poll is unlikely to be held on September 11 in the wake of BJP moving court on the voting rights of nominated members of the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha members as stated in the KMC Act.

Government sources told Deccan Chronicle that the petition would come up in the court for hearing on September 8, so the Department of Urban Development has decided to wait for a day or two.
“In all probability, the elections may be put off by two or three days, it will definitely not take place on September 11 as tentatively decided on Monday.”

As per the KMC Act, as many as 260 public representatives are eligible to cast their votes in the mayoral elections. Accordingly, all 28 legislators of Bengaluru City, MLCs who are voters in Bengaluru and five Lok Sabha members including Mr D.K. Suresh and Mr M Veerappa Moily can exercise their franchise. As far as Rajya Sabha members are concerned, they should be voters of Bengaluru city failing which they are ineligible to vote.

Out of 260 votes, BJP has 127 members including two Rajya Sabha members, three Lok Sabha members, 12 MLAs, 9 MLCs and 101 corporators. Congress has five Rajya Sabha members, two Lok Sabha members, 13 MLAs, six MLCs and 76 corporators. Janata Dal (Secular) has one Rajya Sabha member, three MLAs, three MLCs and 14 councillors.

Others include three MLCs- D.U. Mallikarjun, Mr B.S. Suresh and Mr B. Raghu Achar. Surprisingly, nominated MLCs, Mr V.S. Ugrappa, Mr H.D. Revanna and Ms Jayamala (Congress), Mr Jaggesh and Ms Tara Anuradha have voting rights on the ground that they have been voters in Bengaluru. Mr Raghu Achar has the voting right in the mayoral poll since he has been a voter in Bengaluru despite being elected from local bodies in Chitradurga and Davangere.

Sources in BBMP said such a piquant situation has cropped for the first time as BJP did not face any problem in coming to power in BBMP in 2010. It was true that ambiguity exists in the KMC Act over voting rights of nominated MLCs and Rajya Sabha members that needs to be clarified by the government. “We are strictly going by the rulebook and intimating all eligible voters about the dates of the mayoral election. We will abide by the court decision,” they said.

Council chief to go?

After the ruling Congress Party clinched a deal with Janata Dal (Secular) in its bid to come to power in BBMP, it is to be seen whether this bonhomie will extend to the State Legislative Council.

A senior JD(S) leader in the Council did not rule out such a development in the coming days to unseat the incumbent Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy who belongs to BJP. In fact, the saffron party had seen to it that deputy chairman, Mr Puttanna was removed after the BJP came to power in the state to accommodate Ms Vimala Gowda. “When both Congress and JD(S) have forged an alliance to prevent BJP from coming back to power in BBMP, the same logic may be applied in the Legislative Council too.”

In the 75-member House, BJP has 31 members (including chairman) , followed by Congress with 28 members. Janata Dal (Secular) and Independents number 12 and four respectively. In the last concluded session, BJP and JD(S) had joined hands to ensure the victory of Mr Maritibbegowda of JD(S) to the post of deputy chairman. The Congress candidate, Mr Dharmaraj lost by a margin of 13 votes.

Mr Shankaramurthy assumed the post of chairman of the Legislative Council on June 28, 2012. With the changed political chemistry, both Congress and JD(S) may join hands to remove Mr Shankaramurthy and elect a Congress member. If Congress, JD(S) and Independents are put together, the total would be 44 against the BJP’s strength of 31 members which is sufficient to achieve an upper hand over the saffron party.

The Congress is upset with the BJP in the Upper House as it stalled the KMC (amendment) Bill, 2015 to trifurcate the BBMP and referred the matter to the Select Committee despite it being passed in the State Assembly.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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