Post of BBMP Deputy Mayor Remains Vacant

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Re-elections for the post of Deputy Mayor of the BBMP are yet to be announced.

The post of Deputy Mayor of the Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) remains vacant a month after the previous appointee’s passing. The Janata Dal (Secular)’s Ramila Umashankar was elected as the Deputy Mayor on September 28th of this year. However, she subsequently passed away on October 5th, 2018 resulting from a cardiac arrest.

On the death of the Deputy Mayor, reports suggested that the re-elections were likely to be held on November 12th.  However, re-elections for the post are yet to take place.

“For starters, the Deputy Commissioner and Committee members would have to release a notification with respect to the elections”- Shashidhara, a special officer at the BBMP said. “There’s been a delay due to Supplementary elections and Code of Conduct. There have also been many holidays in between” he added.

Speaking on the process of appointing the Deputy Mayor, Shashidara explained “The power to appoint the Deputy Mayor initially lay with the Mayor. However, that authority rests with Regional Commissioner since 2010.” “In the month of October, the Council Secretary has sent three letters to the Regional Commissioner in this regard”, he mentioned.

Municipal Corporations have a large role to play with regard to garnering political clout. Narasimha Murthy, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Bangalore University believes that any local election would be instrumental in influencing the next election. He noted, “Out of the 224 members that Bengaluru sends to the Legislative Assembly, Bangalore Metropolitan Corporation holds 28. This is a significant number.”

“Furthermore, these corporators are made up by local politicians and primary party workers. These corporators could influence voters at a grassroot level.”, he added. Murthy believes that the work done by corporators could have an impact even at the Lok Sabha level. “MPs can’t work at a base level as much as corporators could.”

With the Congress party’s Gangambike holding the office of Mayor, it was the first time in which the posts of both Mayor as well as Deputy Mayor were held by women. Elections for the same were held in September of this year in which the Congress and the JD(S) managed to get 130 votes combined. This turned out to be three more than the number necessary to bag the requisite posts. The late Deputy Mayor Ramila Umashankar took over the post from Padmavati.

The Model Code of Conduct Rules dictates that the commission must announce the date of an election at least three weeks prior to the release of a notification with respect to that election. However, the date of re-election is yet to be announced. According to Section 61 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, the Deputy Mayor shall perform the duties of the Mayor if the Mayor remains absent or incapacitated for more than eight days until she returns.

Reports suggest that the post of the Deputy Mayor would be retained by the JD(S). Party President for Bengaluru Ramesh R said that a candidate is yet to be chosen. “A candidate will be decided after elections have been declared.” he mentioned.