Surekha Srinivas, Roopa D. Bangera, and Shantha R. are the front runners
As the Government has reserved the post of Mayor for the fifth year for a woman from Backward Class (A) category, the Mayor of Mangalore for the next one year will be a woman candidate, according to sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Names doing the rounds in the BJP suggest that the party was likely to field a councillor either from the Ganiga (oil pressers) or Kumbara (potters) castes as the Mayoral candidate. If this did not materialise, sources told The Hindu that a woman councillor from Shettigar (weavers) caste might be asked to contest for the post.
The one-year term of present Mayor Praveen would end this month end. Next one year would be crucial for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the council of Mangalore City Corporation would have to go for the polls in 2013 as the present five-year term of the council would come to an end in March, 2013, sources said.
Castes such as Billava or Poojary (originally toddy tapers); Mogaveera (fishing community people); Devadiga (temple musicians), Ganiga, Kumbara, and Shettigar have been listed under Backward Class A category.
Sources said accordingly the names of councillors Surekha Srinivas (Central Market ward) from Ganiga caste, Roopa D. Bangera (Kadri North) from Kumbara caste, and Shantha R. (Panjimogaru) from Shettigar caste were doing the rounds as the front runners for the Mayoral post.
Although councillors Rajani Dugganna (Hosabettu) and Revathi K. (Surathkal West) qualify to contest, the party was unlikely to field them as Ms. Dugganna had already served as Mayor and Revathi as the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Taxation, Finance and Appeals.
The last three Mayors were from wards under Mangalore North Assembly constituency. They were Ganesh Hosabettu (Kulai ward), M. Shankar Bhat (Derebail East), and Rajani Dugganna (Hosabettu). Present Mayor Praveen represented Derebail South ward under Mangalore South Assembly Constituency.
Sources said a section of workers in the party were of the view that as three Mayors were from Mangalore North, two Mayors should be from Mangalore South. If the party honoured their view, Shantha R. from Panjimogaru might lose the race. As Ms. Srinivas and Ms. Bangera represented wards in Mangalore South constituency, one of them might be asked to file their papers.
Sources said the party had been exploring ways to get more Ganiga caste people to its fold. It recently nominated Ramesh S. from the same caste as the chairman of Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA). It was because among backward castes, the BJP had not given them enough representation in positions when compared to the Congress. The Government has reserved the post of Deputy Mayor for the fifth year to a woman from Scheduled Castes. The ruling BJP has the lone councillor Amitakala from Derebail West ward who qualifies to contest for the post, sources said.
Mayoral elections are likely to be held in a few days, they said.