After three years of no city council, the city finally saw the day when its 198 newly-elected corporators took oath to office. The city also welcomed its first citizens, Mayor S K Nataraj and Deputy Mayor N Dayanand, both of who were elected unopposed.
There were mixed emotions in the air. While nervous first-time corporators quietly waded their way to their seats, the experienced lot seemed to be in a lighter mood. Few Congress MLAs turned up to lend their support to their party corporators. City BJP MLAs and ministers came in larger numbers, breaking into bouts of laughter amongst themselves at regular intervals.
This first session also saw commotion in the form of verbal spats, disruptions and constant interruptions while members spoke. Some even managed to catch a wink or two in the middle of all this. Nevertheless, it was a packed house as Bengaluru council’s first session rolled out to a grand start.
Proceedings began with the swearing-in of the 198 corporators presided by the Regional Commissioner of the state government’s revenue department G M Dhananjay. BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena was also present. The ceremony started at 10 am.
Dhananjay administered the oath of office to the 198 corporators, five at a time. Some of the late-comers were sworn-in towards the end. Former MLA and Mayor K Chandrashekar (Congress) came in much later, just before the mayoral elections were to take place, and took oath. Some other corporators opposed this saying he was doing it to grab media attention.
Among the BJP leaders present were Transport Minister R Ashoka, BWSSB minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, Medical education minister Ramachandra Gowda, urban development minister S Suresh Kumar, MLAs Shobha Karandlaje and B N Vijaykumar. Congress MLAs Ramalinga Reddy, Dinesh Gundu Rao and N A Harris were present for sometime.
Bangalore’s 44th mayor chosen unopposed
The mayoral election was scheduled for 1 pm as 10:30 am to 12 noon was rahu kalam. There was no election as such for the post of mayor and deputy mayor as they were filled unopposed. Other parties did not field candidates for these posts. Sarakki (Ward 178) corporator S K Nataraj, 53, was sworn in as the Mayor. This third time corporator and General Secretary of BJP’s Bangalore unit, is the 44th Mayor of the city and the first ever from BJP in Bengaluru. Nataraj’s deputy is 27-year-old N Dayanand, a first-time corporator from Beninganahalli (Ward 50).
In his inaugural address as Mayor, Nataraj told the corporators to work on development of new areas and also prepare a blueprint for development works in their respective wards. He also highlighted specific areas of work including drains, garbage, parking and water shortage.
The Mayor also opened the session to allow some members to speak at this first session. Among those who spoke was Congress’s Chandrashekar who has been elected from Hanumanthanagar (Ward 155). This former minister spoke for at least a good 15 minutes and was urged by some BJP corporators not to take so much time on the very first time. Chandrashekar, however, continued undeterred. He told the Mayor that he has a huge pric(z)e waiting to welcome him and that is the bill of over Rs 1000 crores pending with the BBMP. He also insisted that elections to the standing committees be held soon so as to not lose time to work.
Most of Chandrashekar’s remarks did not go down well with BJP Corporators. One of his remarks was, "Nataraj is the 44th mayor of Bangalore. Four and four add up to eight, which represents rahu, a bad omen".
Other corporators objected to such remarks, saying they were sarcastic and uncalled-for. Interestingly most of the senior Congress leaders present did not stand up and speak in Chandrashekar’s support. Chandrashekar was later seen talking with JD(S)’s Padmanabha Reddy, Minister Ashoka and Suresk Kumar, among others.
Another corporator requested the Mayor to distribute Kannada copies of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 to all the elected representatives. Incidentally, in his speech Nataraj had said that Kannada should be the administrative language in the BBMP.
No independent candidate was given a chance to speak during the session.
The Mayor also announced that the Leader of the Opposition was Congress’s M Nagaraj, elected from Nandini Layout (Ward 43). JD(S) announced Padmanabha Reddy, elected from Kacharkanahalli (Ward 29), as their floor leader.
The next session is scheduled to be held on April 30th, when the elections to the standing committees will take place.