In the mock elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Loksatta Party swept the polls by securing as many as 75 votes, followed by Congress and BJP that garnered 51 and 42 votes respectively.
The mock elections were organised by the Karnataka State Unit of the Loksatta Party and Smart Vote, here on Sunday, as a protest against the State government’s “continued reluctance” to conduct elections to the BBMP council. Though the mock ballot paper had the names of all the political parties, no one represented the different parties.
The independent candidate secured nine votes, Janata Dal (Secular) garnered a total of six votes, and Bahujan Samaj Party secured one vote.
“We organised the mock elections on Sunday, when the elections were actually supposed to be held. It was organised with an aim to highlight the government’s casual attitude towards grassroots democracy,” said C.N. Deepak from Loksatta Party.
Seeking to speak on behalf of all citizens, who have not been represented in the BBMP for over three years, Loksatta intends to send a loud and clear message to the government to fulfil its constitutional obligation and adhere to Karnataka High Court’s ruling by conducting elections before March 30, he said.
About 200 people participated in the mock elections. “Many of them had forgotten about the process of electing the local representatives. Even young children wanted to cast their vote and participate. Incidentally, one man cast his vote, rushed home and brought with him his wife and urged her also to cast her vote,” he said.
Mr. Deepak said the elections to the local body were conducted over eight years ago and the five-year term of the elected representatives ended three years ago.
N.S. Ramakanth, vice-president of Loksatta and former president of Kumara Park Residents’ Welfare Association, told The Hindu that residents of the city were not able to get their grievances addressed due to the lack of elected representatives. “This is our way of teaching the State Government about the democratic process.”
Noted theatre activist Prakash Belawadi said Bangalore needed a directly elected Mayor with more powers. He said the government should conduct the elections as soon as possible and implement the Kasturirangan Committee Report.
The city MLAs were reluctant to allow the corporators or councillors take up development work. “The MLAs do not want to share the power. However, it is important for people to realise that MLAs have legislative powers and the corporators are empowered to take care of development at the grass root. The roles are clearly demarcated. Yet, the Government does not show any inclination of conducting the crucial elections,” said Yogaiah V.C. from Loksatta.