BBMP turns into a political battleground six months before Mayor Sharadamma's tenure comes to an end
With six months to go before current BBMP Mayor R Sharadamma will be required to vacate her mayoral seat and make way for an heir, it appears like the palike has already turned into a political battleground. Senior officials seem an upset bunch, as ministers are lobbying for their respective candidates and aspirants have already begun doing the groundwork and are reportedly pushing their agendas ahead in efforts to win over a majority.
Battle ready! Transport and Home Minister R Ashok endorses his aide A H Basavaraj (in circle) as a suitable mayoral candidate in the upcoming polls
Sources revealed that three aspirants are preparing, while three-time winner and corporator from Kathriguppe, Venkatesh Murthy has prepared a list of 'Dos and don'ts to train these candidates. Murthy claimed that he is banking on the quota system, wherein a member of the backward community gets selected.
Hawk-eye? "I am a Kuruba and senior-most compared to the other two aspirants and therefore am banking on the state BJP president K S Eshwarappa (who happens to be a Kuruba) to back me up. I have learned important lessons from B S Yeddyurappa's ouster, Katta Subramanya Naidu's arrest, Anna Hazare's fast to end corruption and I will keep a hawk eye on the officers.
Murthy confidently added that since he is the senior-most Kuruba leader out of 17 BJP corporators of the community, and also since he is a three-time winner from the party, he will surely be backed up.
Ace up sleeve? While A L Shivkumar, (present chairman of the Standing Committee for Accounts) is close to the Keshava Krupa RSS office, his association with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has boosted his confidence. The support he provided to Gowda during the ballot vote outside Capital Hotel and images of him shaking hands with the CM, which were captured by shutterbugs before the ballot vote, has apparently added strength to his profile.
"I will go by the party high command's decision. When I become Mayor, I will tackle corruption, because of which our city administration has gone from bad to worse," said Shivkumar. The surprise package of the lot however is A H Basavaraj, a close confident of Home and Transport Minister R Ashok. Basavaraj's booth level politics had earlier ensured victory for Ashok in the previous assembly election. Besides, he also commands about 7 wards of both Padmanabhanagar and Uttarahalli.
Sources close to him claimed that Basavaraj has already begun developmental works in many wards in order to be chosen as a powerful probable. "He has already got sanction of Rs 1 crore and has begun working on slab covering over storm water drains in Bhavaninagar, Yarabnagar and in his own ward. He is also visiting neighbouring wards like Padmanabhanagar and Uttarahalli constituencies to ensure that he has a backup in case his political contacts bail on him during the Mayoral election," said a source within the BJP. Basavaraj on the other hand, chose to keep speculations alive. "I was the leader of opposition in 2006 and had cornered the ruling Congress then. It is time to take my skills to the next level, but my leaders would now have to answer whether I am a good choice to be the next Mayor," he said.