This Article is From Sep 11, 2015

After BJP's Civic Poll Celebrations, a Congress Mayor for Bengaluru

Bengaluru's new Mayor Manjunath Narayana Reddy

Bengaluru: Manjunath Narayana Reddy of the Congress is Bengaluru's new Mayor. In a close contest today, he edged out the BJP's Manjunath Raju by three votes.  

Two weeks ago, the BJP had won 100 of the BBMP's 198 wards, a victory celebrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "hat-trick." It came soon after wins for the BJP in civic elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

But the Congress and Janata Dal Secular or JDS joined hands today to wrest the mayor's post from the BJP, which has dominated Bengaluru politics for some years now.  Mr Reddy won 131 votes to his rival's 128.

The two parties were helped by the fact that apart from corporators, parliamentarians and lawmakers from the state also vote for the mayor.

The BJP has challenged non-corporators being allowed to vote in court.

A disappointed Ananth Kumar, senior leader and BJP lawmaker from Bangalore South told NDTV, "The honourable Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has subverted democracy. The mandate by the people of Bengaluru was for the BJP."

"Democracy is about numbers. We have no reservations about what happened," said the Congress' Veerappa Moily.

New mayor Mr Reddy is 52 years old and lists himself as a "social activist and active Congress worker." A corporator for many years, he has his task cut out - Bengaluru has big civic problems like nightmare traffic, bad roads, poor garbage disposal and polluted lakes.

SP Hemlatha of the JDS is the new deputy mayor.

Karnataka is ruled by the Congress. It snatched power in 2013 from a deeply fractured BJP, that was also hit hard by corruption charges against important party leaders. Months later, in the national election, the BJP won 17 of the state's 28 seats, sweeping all three Lok Sabha seats in Bengaluru.

But its victory in the BBMP election last month was narrower than that in 2010, when it had won 111 wards.

The Congress holds 76 wards in the BBMP now and the JDS 14.