After winning civic elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party has won the Bengaluru municipal election by capturing 100 seats in the 198-member Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.
Bangalore, known as the Silicon Valley of India, is not just another municipal corporation, it is a mini-Karnataka with 28 seats in the 224-member Assembly.
For the first time since 1983, a ruling party, the Congress, has lost the municipal election in the city that generates 70 per cent of Karnataka&’s revenues.
The Congress could win only 76 seats though it could claim its tally has gone up from 65 in the 2010 election, while the BJP&’s strength has in fact come down from 111 to 100. The Janata Dal (Secular) led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda won 14 seats, one seat less than its 2010 tally.
For the first time, BBMP will be dominated by women power, having elected 105 women councillors. Half the seats are reserved for women but six women won from general wards, trouncing their male opponents. Among them is V Shantha Kumari of the BJP, former mayor.
Aware of its inability to worst the BJP from the BBMP, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tried to stall the election by dividing Bengaluru into three civic authorities on the plea it had grown too big to be governed by a single authority. The Bill to trifurcate Bengaluru is awaiting the President&’s assent.
The Supreme Court made its own contribution to put an end to Siddaramaiah&’s stalling tactics by setting the deadline to hold the civic election.
The result is a warning signal to the Congress that all is not well with the party and its administration.
The Siddaramaiah government did little for the city which contributes the bulk of its revenue. Bengaluru has a population of 11 million and about 5.5 million vehicles.
The roads are choked and not much is done to clear the congestion. The 115-km metro project taken up a decade ago by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has completed only 20 km so far.
Though a recent national survey found Bengaluru the cleanest capital in the country, the BBMP has not been able to cope with garbage piled up for days at roadsides.
Reacting to the triumph of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “This is a win for politics of development and good governance.” The track record of the BJP-run BBMP in the last five years is nothing to write home about. BJP candidates approached the people in the name of Modi and the Congress candidates in the name of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
The many problems the metropolis faces have been relegated to the background. The results place a great burden on the newly elected councillors, the majority of whom are first-timers. If only they could keep this once famous garden city garbage-free and its streets unclogged, they would merit the people&’s confidence.