BBMP ward reservation list leaves opposition Congress fuming

List was made in RSS ‘Keshava Krupa,’ alleges Congress

Updated - August 06, 2022 04:10 pm IST

Published - August 05, 2022 04:06 pm IST - Bengaluru

Congress workers protest against the BBMP for delimitation of 243 new wards in Bengaluru on June 29, 2022.  File Photo

Congress workers protest against the BBMP for delimitation of 243 new wards in Bengaluru on June 29, 2022. File Photo | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

The Karnataka government’s ward reservation list for Bengaluru has left the opposition Congress fuming as many of its leaders may not be able to contest if elections are held according to the list issued late on August 3.

Not just the Congress, some former councillors from the ruling BJP too face the prospect of losing a chance to contest from their respective wards.

The Karnataka government, in light of the directions by the Supreme Court of India on July 28, declared ward-wise reservations for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to facilitate the long-delayed polls.

Reservations to Congress constituencies

The Congress has opposed the reservation list and alleged that it was prepared at ‘Keshava Krupa’ (state headquarters of the RSS). Speaking to The Hindu, former Congress councillor and opposition leader in the BBMP council Abdul Wajid, who is also one of the petitioners, said, “The new reservation list issued by the state government clearly shows that it is prepared at Keshava Krupa, and not by the government, to make sure that the BJP will gain from it.”

“All the wards in the Congress-represented assembly constituencies have been given reservations. For example, in Gandhinagar Assembly constituency, which has seven wards, all have been reserved as women's category. In Shivajinagar constituency too, out of seven wards, six have been reserved for women. But in the BJP constituencies, equal reservations have been given,” Mr. Wajid explained.

Mr. Wajid is also not happy with his ward Manorayanapalya now being reserved for Backward Classes A (woman). He has decided to field his wife from there while he contests from another seat.

The state government has reserved 33% of the 243 constituencies in the city for other backward classes (OBC) and 13% for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).

CategoryNo. of seats
General (Women)65
Backward Classes A34
Backward Classes A (Women) 31
Backward Classes B8
Backward Classes B (Women)8
Scheduled Castes 14
Scheduled Castes (Women)14
Scheduled Tribes 2
Scheduled Tribes (Women)2

‘Politically motivated’

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has decided to contest elections in all wards of BBMP, also alleged that the reservation list is politically motivated. Speaking to The Hindu, AAP Karnataka State Secretary, Shanthala Damle said, “The latest ward reservation list clearly shows that the BJP is playing politics and wants to gain out of it. The list is politically motivated to take the BJP to a comfortable win, but we will fight elections based on the issues the city is facing rather than caste and money politics.”

Meanwhile, the saffron party rejected all the allegations and said that the Congress was creating unnecessary confusion. The reservation list, it said, was prepared as per the law. “I have lost my seat due to reservation, as my ward Kacharakanahalli is now reserved for women from general category. If the reservation list is politically motivated, why should I lose my seat?” former BJP councillor Padmanabha Reddy asked.

Ward delimitation exercise

The number of BBMP council seats was increased from 198 to 243 following a recent delimitation exercise of wards on the basis of their population by the state government.

The state government, in June 2022, promulgated an ordinance to facilitate the reservation of one-third of the seats in the BBMP council for candidates from OBC to facilitate BBMP elections which was pending since August 2020. The ordinance also restricts the total number of reserved seats to 50%.

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