Mangaluru: Despite strong lobbying by a section of Muslims for the post, the Congress has appointed Mr Bhaskar K, a distant relative of former Chief Minister, Veerappa Moily as Mayor of Mangaluru city. But taking no chances with the elections to the state assembly approaching, it has given the post of Deputy Mayor to a Muslim corporator as a compromise.
With 35 corporators in a council of 60, the Congress has a clear majority and the BJP with only 20 corporators in the House merely contested the Mayoral election as a token gesture on Thursday.
The Congress had two strong contenders for the post, standing committee chairman Abdul Ravoof and Mr Bhaskar K. It had been approached by some Muslim leaders a few days ago to select Mr Ravoof for the post as the community feels it does not have much representation in the council. The demand put the Congress in a fix as it could afford to annoy the Muslims with the assembly elections fast approaching. But on the other hand making Mr Ravoof the Mayor would give the BJP a chance to accuse it of trying to appease the minorities again.
"There are already two Muslim MLAs, including a Minister from our taluk. The district also has two Christian legislators. If the party had appointed a Muslim Mayor it would have risked annoying the Hindus and the BJP would have made use of this," said a senior corporator. The party finally decided to strike a compromise by making a Muslim the Deputy Mayor, and this appears to have pacified the community as anticipated.