Cutting across party lines, MLAs not keen on civic polls; look for ways to delay it

With the delimitation draft being notified, the city has moved one step further closer to civic polls, or so it seems. However, MLAs cutting across party lines, reportedly not keen to hold civic polls before the 2023 Assembly polls, are strategising ways to derail the poll calendar despite the Supreme Court setting a deadline of eight weeks from May 20, sources said.

Congress MLAs, who have come down heavily on the delimitation draft, are mulling challenging it legally and if this is done, it is likely to delay polls. 

Two former Congress councillors approached the High Court of Karnataka seeking timely elections, which eventually led to the Supreme Court directive recently. The two former councillors were supported by former councillors cutting across party lines, including BJP, sources said.

However, MLAs cutting across party lines, including the Congress, whose members approached the court seeking timely polls, do not want to go for civic polls now, months before the Assembly polls, sources said. 

“We are already in the Assembly elections mode and holding civic polls now will distract us for three months. It demands resources ahead of the Assembly polls and creates its own set of local political problems for the MLAs. For each ward, there are more than two or three aspirants and giving anyone the ticket now will antagonise other aspirants, adversely impacting my Assembly election preparations,” explained a senior Congress MLA.

“We had demanded that the civic polls be held in time after the previous council’s term was over in September 2020. The BJP delayed it for nearly two years and now is the wrong time to hold them,” he added. 

A senior city BJP MLA said none of the MLAs, irrespective of party, are ready to go for the civic polls. “Civic polls will brew dissidence within the party and hit incumbent MLAs more than those challenging them. It will also command huge resources. None of us are ready for the exercise now,” he said.

The ruling BJP has recently suffered a string of setbacks in urban local body polls and by-polls and had a below par performance in the Legislative Council polls, making the party leaders jittery to hold civic polls in the city months before the Assembly polls. Bengaluru has 28 Assembly seats, 12% of the 224-strong Karnataka Assembly. 

However, former councillors are hopeful that the Apex Court direction will force the parties and MLAs to hold elections. “MLAs want to keep all councillor ticket aspirants stringing along promising them tickets and want them to work for their Assembly election. Moreover, MLAs want to control the city and are not ready to share power with councillors. We will fight to hold elections in time,” said a former BJP councillor.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 2:47:18 pm |