BJP’s Sunanda Palanetra is new Mayor of Mysuru

Minister in-charge of Mysuru district S.T. Somashekar denies ‘secret pact’ with JD(S)

In a surprise development, BJP’s Sunanda Palanetra was elected as Mayor of Mysuru on August 25 after the tie-up between Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress, which were in power in Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), fell apart. The JD(S) preferred to remain neutral in the mayoral polls.

BJP is the single largest party in the 65-member MCC followed by Congress, which has 19 members. The JD(S) has 17 members. There are five Independents and one member from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Until the last minute, there was speculation that the JD(S) and the Congress would continue their alliance in the MCC. Congress had sought the Mayor’s post for six months while offering the top post to the JD(S) for the remaining two years.

Though BJP leaders met JD(S) leader and former minister S.R. Mahesh in the run-up to the election and sought the party’s support for their candidate, the JD(S) was inclined to go with the Congress. Hence, the sudden development on the day of the election startled the Congress whose members staged a walkout after its candidate lost the poll.

Congress leaders, including KPCC Working President R. Dhruvanarayan and MLA Tanveer Sait, who played a key role in the last election, had taken part in a meeting to work out plans for the poll. The party was in favour of a tie-up with the JD(S) to prevent the BJP from securing the coveted post.

Sunanda Palanetra, a senior councillor from the BJP, and Shantha Kumari of the Congress filed their nominations for the Mayor’s post. Ms. Palanetra got 26 votes while Ms. Shantha Kumari polled 22. It is the first time the BJP has won the Mayor’s post in the MCC.

Minister in-charge of Mysuru district S.T. Somashekar visited the MCC and congratulated Ms. Palanetra. MP Pratap Simha, MLA S.A. Ramdas and others too congratulated Ms. Palanetra, who missed the post in the last election as a tie-up with the JD(S) did not happen.

The Mayor’s post had become vacant after Rukmini Made Gowda of JD(S) was disqualified by the High Court on the ground that she had submitted a false asset affidavit.

“No BJP member had become the Mayor since the time the MCC came into existence. I congratulate Ms Palanetra on her election and also thank my party leaders for their efforts in making this happen for the first time,” said Mr. Somashekar.

He denied any tie-up or secret pact with the JD(S). “The BJP candidate had filed her nomination and won after securing the highest votes,” he said.

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