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Move to change quota pattern for Mayor's post dropped

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, NOV. 19. Following an adverse legal opinion from the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Law, and yielding to pressure from MLAs, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, on Friday dropped the move to change the reservation pattern for the Mayor's post.

Mr. Dharam Singh had earlier asked the officials to change the category from the existing Scheduled Caste to Backward Class A (Woman). A Government Order effecting the change was to have been issued on Friday. But the move was suddenly dropped.

Sources told The Hindu that the Chief Minister discussed the subject with city Congress MLAs and Housing and Urban Development department officials at a meeting called to make arrangements for the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's visit to the city on December 2.

"The officials informed the Chief Minister that the reservation could not be changed now as the law did not permit it. The pattern followed in the previous (BMP) council's term had to be followed this time too," the sources said.

"Going by the reservation followed last time, the post this year should be reserved for Scheduled Caste category.

The final year of the council can be set aside for General (Woman) as per the rules and it had been followed in the previous council (Prema Cariappa was elected the Mayor then)," a senior MLA, who attended the meeting, said.

"Besides, the Government doesn't want to take any chances after the embarrassing legal battle during the City Municipal Council elections which were stayed by the Karnataka High Court," he said.

The High Court stayed the elections to the posts of president and vice-president of 31 CMCs as the reservation was said to be fixed arbitrarily.

Leaders still hopeful

Meanwhile, some Congress leaders are still hopeful of getting the pattern changed. "As the calendar of events for the November 29 polls has to be notified seven days in advance, we are still hopeful of a change in the category by Monday," a Congress MLA said.

Even as reports about a possible change in the category did the rounds, the mayoral aspirants (who belong to the Scheduled Caste category) got panicky and organised themselves in groups to protest the move. Some of them even met the Chief Minister on Friday and urged him to retain the existing (Scheduled Caste) reservation. They requested the city MLAs to speak in their favour at the meeting, the sources said.

"Probably, that is why none of the MLAs who attended the meeting spoke in favour of Backward Class A (Woman) candidates," the sources added.

If the Scheduled Caste category is retained, five male corporators, Narayanaswamy (HMT ward), K.B. Mohan (Marutisevanagar), Munivenkatappa (Benniganahalli), B. Muniraju (Malleswaram), and M. Muniraju (Bashyamnagar), and three woman corporators, N. Indira (Sarvagnanagar), G. Amudha (Hoysalanagar), and M.S. Vasanthkumari (Gandhinagar), will in the fray.

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