It is less than a week since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the BBMP election. It was a bit of a puzzle to many when Indian National Congress (INC) leaders announced that they were ready to sit in opposition. Anyway BJP has “won” the election. Is there any choice for INC other than sitting in opposition?
Of course yes. INC has an option. And it comes from the nature of the council, and the number of seats BJP got this time, which have not actually given a full majority as far as the Council is concerned.
BBMP Council is not just the corporators elected, but also includes all peoples’ representatives who fall within BBMP limits – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, MLAs and MLCs. Total number of Council members including all ex-officio members is 260, and the magic number required for a simple majority is 131.
Things which were normal till Thursday, took a sudden twist on Friday, with a few JDS MLAs going into a huddle with a few Congress leaders, while the top leadership of Congress made all efforts to hide the developments.
Though it is not yet clear as to who will rule the Council, here is a quick piece on how a Mayor is elected for Bengaluru city and what are the issues involved.
What are the powers and functions of Mayor?
A Mayor can do a lot of work if she/he wishes to do. Mayor presides every meeting of the corporation. According to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act – 1976, the Mayor has general powers of inspection and can give direction to the Corporation Commissioner for implementing any resolutions passed in the corporation. The Commissioner should comply such directions.
The Mayor can also delegate his/her powers to the Deputy Mayor by an order of writing. Mayor is not eligible to be elected as chairman of any standing committee when he/ she has taken charge as the Mayor.
What are the powers and functions of Deputy Mayor?
When the office of the Mayor is vacant, his/ her functions shall devolve on the Deputy Mayor until a new mayor is elected. If the Mayor is continuously absent from the city for more than eight days, or is incapacitated for more than eight days his/ her functions will be transferred to the Deputy Mayor until the mayor returns to the city or recovers from his incapacity.
Also read >> It’s official: Mayor has no role in planning the city!
How are a Mayor and Deputy Mayor elected for the city?
Soon after the BBMP election, at the first meeting of the Council, one of the councillors has to be elected as the Mayor and another councillor has to be elected as the Deputy Mayor in accordance with the reservation. The Regional Commissioner issues election notification, following which nominations are filed. Any corporator from the party that has won the election as well as from the party that has lost the general election, can contest in Mayoral election.
Normally, the party which has won simple majority in general election will field candidates for Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts after consultation with party leaders and corporators. If a party enjoys absolute majority in the council, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected unopposed unless there are contenders for the post within the party.
What are the terms of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor?
Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s term is one year. New Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected every year on the same month on which Mayor for the first term is elected.
Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts are reserved for which categories this time in BBMP?
For the first term that starts in 2015 September, the Mayor’s post is reserved for General category and the Deputy Mayor’s post is reserved for General (Woman). The government changes the reservation for these two posts every year.
Who can vote in Mayor’s election for BBMP?
Apart from 198 corporators, the 62 members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council have voting rights in Mayoral election. They can participate in the functions and meetings of the Municipal Council. However, the members of Rajya Sabha and state legislative council will get voting right only when they are permanent residents of BBMP and their names are included in the voters list within BBMP.
BBMP council comprises of 260 councillors. It includes, 198 elected corporators, 28 MLAs of Bengaluru, 5 MPs (Lok Sabha) 21 MLCs and 8 Rajya Sabha members. These 260 councillors have the right to vote in the Mayoral election.
Do nominated members to Municipal Council have voting rights in Mayoral election?
The nominated corporators of the BBMP council can actively participate in the functions and meetings of the Council, but they have no voting rights. On the other hand, members of Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Council (RS MPs and MLCs), though nominated, get voting rights when their area of residence falls within the limits of BBMP.
What is the magic number to elect a Mayor?
Since 260 councillors can cast their votes in Mayoral election, the minimum votes required for declaring a candidate as Mayor, is 131.
Who are the MLAs, MLCs and MPs (party-wise) eligible to vote in the Mayoral election?
The list is long. See this article for the answer: The number game in BBMP Council – 2015
What is the role of 62 extra councillors (non-corporator, ex-officio members) in the functioning of BBMP?
These 62 councillors who are ex-officio members, should take oath in the first BBMP general body meeting, along with 198 corporators. Notices will be sent to the councillors prior to every council meeting. However, it is left to the discretion of councillors to decide whether to attend the meeting or not. Normally, councillors do not attend monthly meetings and the resolutions are passed in council meetings in their absence.
During the last council term, ruling party BJP was not in need of garnering the support of councillors to pass resolutions as the party had enjoyed absolute majority in the council with 110 corporators. As far as the new term is concerned, even if the Congress and JDS enter into coalition, passing of resolutions needs the support of all ex-officio members with voting rights, as the coalition will lack majority on its own. In the absence of ex-officio councillors in the meeting, BJP might get an edge as it has majority number of corporators in its pocket.
Will the equation for electing the Mayor remain the same during next Mayoral elections?
No. The equation is likely to change. This is because MLCs retire periodically. The location of the new MLCs elected or nominated will have a bearing on the council’s strength. Number of seats in Bengaluru won by various parties in the 2018 assembly elections will also have an effect on the number game.
This apart, every year Mayoral elections are likely to see good amount of horse trading, power games and high decibel political dramas that will hit the headlines, while news on development works are silently buried. The stand of the council will also change according to the whims and fancies of political parties involved. So it’s going to be exciting—wait for more BBMP news with bated breath, for next five years!
If you have more questions, feel free to add them as comments. We will try answering them.