Women back at the helm in Bengaluru , after 22 years

Bengaluru: More power to women, as after 22 years, both the mayor and deputy mayor posts in Bengaluru have been won by women. After the elections on Friday, Jayanagar ward corporator Gangambike became the 52nd Mayor of Bengaluru, while Kaveripura corporator Ramila Umashankar became her deputy.

High drama and fight
High drama prevailed at the BBMP Council minutes before the Mayoral elections on Friday. While Congress leaders and minister Ramalinga Reddy maintained that all the eight independents were with them, two crossed over to the BJP, triggering a fight between Congress and BJP leaders. Independent corporator Ramesh, Congress corporator Anand, JD(S) corporators Devadas and Manjula  Narayana Swamy walked into the council hall with former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader R. Ashok, setting off a panic in the Congress-JD(S) camp. 

Pushing and pulling of independents
As the election was expected to go down to the wire, losing independents and other corporators would have meant a disaster for the Congress-JD(S) coalition. The fear that the BJP, which had 123 votes, could somehow reach the magic number 130 triggered fights. Leaders of both parties were seen pulling independents to their sides. The BJP had fielded Shobha Anjanappa and Prathiba Dhanraj for Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts.

BJP boycotts poll, walks out
Leader of the opposition Padmanabha Reddy, demanded the cancellation of voting rights to former union minister Jairam Ramesh, MLC V.S. Ugrappa, Raghu Achar and C.R. Ramesh, but it was rejected by the chair. All the BJP corporators and leaders, including union minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Suresh Kumar, boycotted the elections like they did in 2017 and walked out.

We had a strategy: Ashok Angry R. Ashok, while walking out, said, “We had thoroughly worked out our strategy to reach the magic figure of 130. Some disgruntled Congress and JD(S) corporators had assured us that they would vote for BJP candidates, and with the support of some independents, we could have easily won. But the Congress-JD(S) snatched away power from the BJP forcibly, and the people will teach them a lesson for that.”

Right path took us to victory: Reddy
Congress MLA and minister Ramalinga Reddy, who was the mastermind behind the Congress-JD(S) coalition continuing to enjoy power at the BBMP, brushed off the BJP criticism, saying the coalition won because of people's blessings. “We have not taken any wrong path to reach our goal,” he said. Gangambike, who secured 130 votes, and Ramila, who got 129 votes, won their respective positions comfortably.

Women in top 2 in 1996
The last time Bengaluru had women in both mayor and deputy mayor posts was in 1996 when Mr H.D. Deve Gowda was the chief minister. Ms Padmavathi Gangadhar Gowda was the mayor, while Venkatalakshmi was her deputy. In the present BBMP Council, half of the 198 members are women.

Know your Mayor
Forty-year-old Gangambikem is a second-time corporator from Jayanagar. A mother of two, she holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce. She boasts of opening the first outdoor gym for senior citizens at her ward and takes the credit for development of Byrasandra Lake and a temple kalyani at Someshwarnagar.  She is the eighth woman mayor of Bengaluru. 

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