Padmavati vs. Sowmya: BBMP Mayor polls churns Congress-JD(S) alliance
- Presently three names – G Padmavati, Sowmya Shivakumar and Lavanya Ganesh Reddy - have been shortlisted.
- The JD(S) prefers Sowmya Shivakumar, Corporator of Shantinagar ward, for the position.
- G Padmavati, the Corporator of Prakashnagar ward, is the strongest candidate.
The election for the BBMP Mayor and Deputy Mayor is scheduled to be held on 28th September. As per sources, the Congress and JD(S) have finalised their discussions for a coalition, with only the exact sharing of positions left to be discussed.
Both parties have agreed that the position of Mayor will go to the Congress and Deputy Mayor to the JD(S). Along with the Deputy Mayor position, six standing committee chairman positions will also be given to the JD(S).
Interestingly, even though the JD(S) won just 23 seats in Bengaluru City Municipal Corporation out of the total 269, JD(S) Supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda seems to hold the trump card for next City Mayor.
Although the Congress convinced the JD(S) to settle for the Deputy Mayor post, the JD(S) has demanded eight Standing Committee Chairman posts and also the right to pick a Mayor of their choice.
Presently three names – G Padmavati, Sowmya Shivakumar and Lavanya Ganesh Reddy - have been shortlisted for the position of Mayor and the list has been sent to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
G Padmavati, the Corporator of Prakashnagar ward, is the strongest candidate in the shortlist. A four-time winner in the Corporation elections, she is reportedly back by DK Shivkumar - Congress leader and the Karnataka Minister for Energy - and other senior leaders.
"I have won four times and party has recognised my efforts and strengths. I am also a mayor aspirant. The decision is left with CM." she said
Interesting, the path for Padmavati is being cleared in more ways than one. For example, a certain Subramanya had filed a complaint with Jayanti, the Regional Commissioner, Bengaluru Division, against Padmavati during the Corporator elections. Now that complaint has also been dismissed under a technicality.
Meanwhile, Ramalinga Reddy, Congress leader and Karnataka's Transport Minister, told the media that the Mayoral candidate would be selected by seniority. This too indirectly hints at Padmavati, who is the most senior in the list of contendors.
"The decision will be announced by late evening tonight. Meanwhile, all Congress Corporators have been summoned to the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office at 4:00 pm. These Corporators will be given standing instructions to participate in Thursday's Mayoral election and not to defect to any other party," said Reddy.
However, the JD(S) prefers Sowmya Shivakumar, Corporator of Shantinagar ward, for the position. She is back with several other Congress leaders as well.
Padmavathi defected from the JD(S) a decade ago and joined the Congress. Also, she is a close associate of DK Shivakumar, who is considered the political adversary of Deve Gowda. Hence the JD(S) have raised a strong objection to Padmavathi and have pitched for Soumya Shivakumar.
"G Padmavathi, the Congress' choice, left JD(S) after serving two terms as Corporator and joined the Congress. This may go against her during the election," sources from Congress told Asianet Newsable.
Soumya, an MA Graduate, is the wife of Shivakumar, National Students Union (Congress) Shanthinagar Assembly President and Bengaluru Youth Congress, General Secretary in 1998. She also has the support of two-time MLA NA Harris, who is seen as her patron in these elections.
As Shanthinagar Coporator seat was reserved for women, Shivakumar fielded his wife in 2010 for the post and ensured her victory. Soumya officially is listed under the B Category, Vokkaligas (who are financially weak).
"We joined Congress over two decades ago and have worked from grass root level. My wife is second term corporator, and she too is eligible. Hence my MLA NH Harris is batting on her behalf," Shivakumar told Asianet Newsable.
Shanthinagar MLA NA Harris, speaking to Asianet Newsable, said: "We will have to fight for grass root workers and reward them at the right time. And I am trying my level best to get Soumya Shivakumar trough this Mayor elections. In this regard, I even held discussions with Energy DK Shivakumar and CM,"
However, those discussions do not seem to have gone very well. When Harris made a case for Soumya before senior leader DK Shivakumar, he was asked to follow party discipline and "not to dictate to party leaders".