Bengaluru City’s New Mayor and Deputy Mayor Are Both Women

Gangambike Mallikarjun and Ramila Umashankar emerged victorious as the BJP walked out ahead of the voting.

3 min read
Gangambike Mallikarjun (L) and Ramila Umashankar, were elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Bengaluru City, respectively.

In another instance of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) coming together to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out in Karnataka, Congress corporator Gangambike Mallikarjun got elected as the 52nd Mayor of Bengaluru city on Friday, 28 September.

In a repeat of the 2017 elections, the BJP staged a walkout ahead of the voice vote.  JD(S)’s Ramila Umashankar was elected as the deputy mayor.

With this, it is for the first time that Bengaluru will have women occupying the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The elections were not short of drama with council members belonging to all the three major parties – the Congress, BJP and the JD(S) – engaging in a scuffle before the BJP walked out.

Why Did BJP Walk Out?

Explaining why the BJP walked out, party MLA Arvind Limbavalli said:

“A few Congress MLCs and MPs didn’t have vote in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) but last year they voted. The petition against that vote is pending and even now they are here to vote. We don’t agree with that because of which we have walked out.”
Arvind Limbavalli, BJP MLA

Although BJP emerged the single largest party in the 198 ward council with 100 corporators, Gangambike backed by the Congress heavyweight Ramalinga Reddy was a clear favourite.

The BBMP Council is made up of 198 corporators representing each ward in Bengaluru, but MPs, MLAs and MLCs residing in Bengaluru can vote in this poll.

On paper, the BJP had 100 corporators, three Lok Sabha MPs, two Rajya Sabha MPs, 11 MLAs and seven MLCs to vote for its candidate. This brought the BJP’s total tally to 123. BJP MPs from Karnataka, Nirmala Sitharaman and Ananth Kumar were absent.

Meanwhile, the Congress-JD(S) combine had 90 corporators, two Lok Sabha MPs, seven Rajya Sabha MPs, 17 MLAs and 12 MLCs vote for Gangambike. However, with the BJP walking out, the two were elected unanimously.

The Congress-JD(S) combine managed to get 130 votes, while the magic number was 127 votes with a total of six eligible voters skipping the poll.

No Threat From BJP, Always Had The Numbers: Congress

“There was no question of threat by the BJP because we always had the numbers. Three Congress leaders didn’t make it in time. But we still won. It is a victory for congress not Ramalinga Reddy.”
Ramalinga Reddy, Congress MLA

Gangambike – Jayanagar corporator has succeeded party colleague and DJ Halli corporator, R Sampath Raj who bowed out of his role as Mayor after completing a stipulated year's term in charge.

In the same arrangement, JD(S)’s Ramila Umashankar became the Deputy Mayor taking the baton from her party colleague Padmavati.

The BJP had fielded Shobha Anjanappa, Padmanabha ward councillor as its candidate for Mayor and Nayandahalli corporator Pratibha Dhanraj as the candidate for Deputy Mayor.

The position for Bengaluru Mayor was reserved for a woman from the General category this year. The Congress decided to go with Lingayat (Veerashaivas) candidate Gangambike, following a meeting on Thursday evening.

Gangambike also had the backing of senior Congress leader and All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa.

Incidentally, Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy was also pivotal in forging the JD(S)-Congress alliance within the BBMP in 2015 when none of the parties had a majority in the city council. The BJP emerged the single largest party with 100 seats in the 198 wards council, Congress managed to win 75 seats and JD(S) won 25. The rest eight seats were secured by independent candidates.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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