Mangaluru: Mayoral Elections – 35 Congress Aspirants for Top Post, Deputy from BJP by Default?

Mangaluru: The annual ritual of mayoral elections is round the corner. Each year, the plum post of the First Citizen goes to different caste categories by rotation.

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This year, the Congress party which is in power is faced with a curious situation. It has a firm majority with 35 members. However, because the mayor’s post is open to the general category, all of them become eligible to contest the election scheduled to be held on March 11.

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Outgoing mayor Jacintha Vijaya Alfred and deputy mayor Purushottam Chitrapura

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​Senior corporators Shashidhar Hegde and Mahabala Maarla, who have already served as mayors

Present mayor Jacintha Vijaya Alfred and deputy mayor Purushottam Chitrapura will demit office, making way for the new incumbents. That may leave both of them out of the reckoning.

The deputy mayor’s post is reserved for the women from the scheduled category and Congress does not have any eligible corporator in its fold. Hence the post is likely to go to Sumitra Kariya of the BJP which fits into the caste specifications.

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Sumitra Kariya, the BJP corporator who is the only eligible candidate from the reserved category

Among the seniors, Shashidhar Hegde and Mahabala Maarla have already enjoyed a tenure each. Lancelot Pinto has already served as deputy mayor once earlier, and later during the BJP rule, as the leader of the opposition.

The most ahead in the race could be Harinath, who has won his seat a few times in a row. He has been the leader of the opposition once earlier.

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​Lancelot Pinto, who has served as deputy mayor for a term already and Harinath, who has been eluded by the top post for many long years

That leaves, in the pecking order of seniority, Bhaskar Moily, Naveen D’Souza, Deepak Poojary and Abdul Rauf. The minorities have benefited with the influential posts of an MLA, an MLC and MUDA chairmanship.

The aspirants are reportedly doing quiet lobbying in private. Over the coming days, the activity is likely to gain momentum.

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Naveen D’Souza and Bhaskar Moily, seniors who have been long-time aspirants

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Deepak Poojary and Abdul Rauf, other eligible candidates

Although the choice would be limited to the few candidates mentioned here, the party higher-ups or those who matter in choosing the candidates will have a tough time in the shortlisting process.

Will one of the seniors bag the coveted post or with a view to avoiding disgruntlement or heartburn, will a dark horse emerge?

It’s time to keep our fingers crossed.

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