Amid Bengaluru debacle, some good news for BJP: historic win in Mysuru corporation

Amid Bengaluru debacle, some good news for BJP: historic win in Mysuru corporation

Under Opposition and public fire over the spectacular collapse of Bengaluru’s infrastructure under the rains, which might well impact the coming civic polls in the city and Assembly elections in the state, the ruling BJP has scored a significant win in Mysuru.

For only the second time since 1862, the party has managed to wrangle the mayor’s post in the Mysuru City Corporation. It also took the Deputy Mayor’s post, the double win in the corporation, a first for the BJP – with not a little help from the JD(S). In both cases, the Congress was the loser.

In the 65-councillor corporation, the gap between the BJP (22) and the Congress (19) is just three. The JD(S) has 18 councillors and the BSP 1, while there are five Independents. MLAs, MLCs and an MP elected from the Mysuru City Corporation area can also vote in the mayor and deputy mayor elections, putting the BJP and Congress’s strength at 27 each, with the JD(S) at 21. (The BSP only has that one councillor.)

For the mayoral post, the contenders were Shivakumar of the BJP, Syed Hasratullah of the Congress and K V Sridhar of the JD(S). Then, in a last-minute agreement between the BJP and JD(S), Sridhar withdrew his nomination. Shivakumar, with the support of the JD(S), easily sailed through, with 47 votes, to Hasratullah’s 28.

It was BJP candidate G Roopa’s win as Deputy Mayor, however, that came as more of a surprise among political circles, which were anticipating a BJP-JD(S) understanding for mayor. For this post, apart from Roopa, the JD(S)’s Reshma Banu and the Congress’s Shobha Sunil were in contention, while rebel JD(S) corporator Nirmala Harish had filed her papers as an Independent.

But, Reshma’s nomination was rejected, for failing to produce a certificate. The JD(S) is yet to clarify how this happened, and whether the party had taken note of it. The JD(S) could not have voted for Nirmala, who earlier cross-voted for the Congress in the mayor election, plus defied the party to fight as deputy mayor. So, at the last minute, the JD(S) transferred its support to the BJP.

While Mysuru city covers three Assembly constituencies – Chamaraja, Krishnaraja and Narasimharaja – the mayor and deputy mayor election results might also reflect on Chamundeshwari and Varuna seats. The results could also be a confirmation that the former bastion of the Congress and JD(S) is tilting towards the BJP.

Currently, the BJP holds Chamaraja and Krishnaraja, the Congress Narasimharaja and Varuna, and the JD(S) Chamundeshwari. Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra is the MLA from Varuna. Indicating the BJP’s intent for the region, the party had tried to field former CM B S Yediyurappa’s son B Y Vijayendra from Varuna earlier.

In the 2013 elections, when Siddaramaiah who comes from the same region became the CM, the BJP had failed to open an account in the entire district, which has 10 constituencies.

Both the Congress and BJP have been focusing on the Mysuru region, with party leaders emphasising on the same at a recent core committee meeting and Congress state chief D K Shivakumar making multiple rounds of Mysuru district.

Against this backdrop, the loss of the Mysuru corporation will come as a setback to the Congress. A party source lamented that the state leadership, including Shivakumar who was at the Bharat Jodo Yatra launch, was still to take note of the development. “We still have a chance of winning Chamaraja and Krishnaraja seats, previously held by us,” the leader lamented.

As for whether the Mysuru mayor and deputy mayor results mean the BJP and JD(S) could be looking at an alliance for the Assembly polls next year, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai refused to comment on the matter. “The JD(S) supported the BJP because of its bitter experience with the Congress previously. However, the BJP already had enough numbers and we managed to win,” he said.