Congress conclave to select candidate today; poll tomorrow

The Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Mangalore will be elected on Thursday — almost a year after the councillors were elected — even as a Congress conclave is scheduled on Wednesday to finalise its candidates.

Sources in the Congress told The Hindu that the Minister in-charge of Dakshina Kannada and senior leader B. Ramanath Rai met party councillors separately on Monday.

A secret meeting of the party leaders, comprising MLAs B.A. Mohiuddin Bava and J.R. Lobo, a day ahead of the elections would decide on the candidates.

The front runners for the post of Mayor, reserved for a candidate of general category, are five-time councillor Harinath (ward no. 14, Marakada) and three-time councillor Mahabala Marla (ward no. 22, Kadri Padavu).

The other senior contenders in the line are Lancelot Pinto (ward no. 31, Bejai), Naveen D’Souza (ward no. 38, Bendoor), Deepak Poojary (ward no. 18, Kavoor) and Bhaskar Moily (ward no. 36, Padavu East), the sources said. Mr. Harinath, belonging to Jogi community (Other Backward Class), had served as Deputy Mayor in 1993-94.

The sources said that there was a strong lobbying within the party to give prominence to Bunts community in the selection of Mayoral candidate. If the lobby has its way, the party could opt for Mr. Marla.

The sources said that Bunts community was listed under Class 2B reservation category. Last time a councillor of Bunts community became a Mayor under this reservation category was Devanna Shetty in 1997-98. Though M. Shashindar Hegde, now a councillor, became the Mayor in 2002-2003, it was under general category.

Though Lancelot Pinto is the most senior councillor (elected for the sixth consecutive term), it is not yet clear if the party will field him. Some sections of the councillors argued that as J.R. Lobo was elected MLA of Mangalore City South and recently Roy Castelino was made president of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Christians had been given enough representation.

Four women in race for deputy’s role

The post of Deputy Mayor is reserved for general category woman. Of the contenders for the post Jacintha Vijaya Alfred, a four-time councillor from Falnir ward, is the most senior. Others are S. Appi, a three-time councillor from Jeppu ward; Kavitha Sanil, a two-time councillor from Pachchanady ward, and Nagaveni, a two-time councillor from Derebail West ward.

In the 60-member council, the Congress has 35 seats, the BJP has 20, the JD(S), two, and the CPI(M) and the Social Democratic Party of India have one seat each. There is an independent councillor, too.

More In: Mangalore