The pace of the Assembly elections scheduled for May 5 has picked up. Amid all this, election to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor has more or less been relegated to the backburner. The term of the incumbent Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy and Deputy Mayor L. Srinivas comes to an end on April 26.
With the election code of conduct in place, there were doubts about whether the polls to the two posts could be held. The District Election Officer, who is overseeing the election process in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palice (BBMP) jurisdiction, sought a clarification from the State Election Commission (SEC). Sources there, in turn, confirmed that they have now sought a clarification in this regard from the Election Commission of India (ECI), New Delhi.
Anil Kumar Jha, Chief Electoral Officer, told The Hindu they have sought guidance from the ECI. “The ECI has sought some clarification from the urban development department on whether the election to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor should be conducted statutorily within a certain period of time. Depending on the response, we will once again consult the ECI,” he said.
He also said the ECI expected a response from the Department of Urban Development in a couple of days’ time.
According to Section 10 (2A) (1) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, the person elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor shall hold office only for the period “from the date of election till his successor is elected in the first meeting thereafter in the same month as the month in which the first meeting after the general election was held to elect Mayor and Deputy Mayor.”
Sources in the BBMP’s council section said that this meant that the election should be held on the same day the term of incumbent Mayor and Deputy Mayor comes to an end. “We have already sent this clarification to the Department of Urban Development,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the Ruling Party in the BBMP council, has decided to field Mr. Murthy from the Shantinagar Legislative Assembly constituency. With all efforts and focus on the Assembly elections, the party has not yet named any candidate (councillor) to the post of Deputy Mayor, which is reserved for the Backward Classes (A) category. A senior councillor told The Hindu, on condition of anonymity, that with the election to the posts still unsure, the party was not ready to shift its focus from the Assembly polls.