Wednesday, April 24, 2013

74th CAA, untouchability, Bengaluru, BJP and the new BBMP Woman Mayor (ST ?)

The landmark urban decentralisation legislation- also known as the Nagarpalika act (74th CAA) along with its counterpart Panchayati Raj act (73rd CAA) is nearing the completion of 20 years in May 2013. This constitutional status for 'local government' a subject in the state list was an important achievement in the processof decentralisation. This act was discussed, debated and negotiated- through 3 different lok sabhas (1984-89, 89-91, and 91-96), with views expressed by national and regional parties and the tenure of 4 PM's (Rajiv Gandhi, V.P Singh, Chandrashekar and Narasimha Rao). Together these amendments were certainly the largest addition to the constitution in terms of impact and content on democratisation and decentralisation.

Karnataka High court order Mayoral elections go ahead

The Karnataka High Court, Bengaluru has recently ordered in April 2013 that the BBMP Mayor election can go ahead. The Chief Election officer of the CEC has also given the green signal for the same despite the fact that the code of conduct for MLA elections is in force. The condition imposed by the court order is that the GoK shd consider the post to be reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates.
(Mayoral poll can be held if posts are reserved for STs)

The GoK in Jan 2013 had misused the delay in availability of the updated Census 2011 data. They did it by postponing preparation of the reservation roster of wards for election in the Urban local elections. Despite this with the Supreme courts intervention the elections to local governments were held, on March 7th 2013 by the state election commission. To prevent this all political parties had passed a joint resolution in the state assembly censuring the SEC. Thereafter the assembly even passed a law amending the KMC Act to force the SEC to take the concurrence of the GoK before announcing elections.

These efforts to prevent elections failed because the Governor of Karnataka did not provide his consent to the amended act. And when the elections were held the BJP was rejected by the voters, despite being known as an urban based party.

BBMP Mayor election - confusion and discrimination

Recently the BJP led GoK had changed the Mayor election reservation roster to General category to provide a chance for a Brahmin mayor (Lobbying for Mayoral post hots up). This was taken to court by groups saying the opportunity had to be given for the ST category since this was not done since last 16 years after the first election for Mayor held in 1996 (post the passage of 74th CAA).

Once again the GoK is forced to have elections to the post of Mayor, Dy Mayor and Chairpersons of standing committees of BBMP, by reserving the category back for Women - General (Govt changes category, city to have a woman mayor) .

Since it seems like the position of the BJP is against following constitutional mandates and principles, their ferocious attempt at imposing a Brahmin mayor on Bengaluru has backfired, instead the Mayor will now be category General - Women.

The BJP led GoK has an approach of symbolism and tokenism with the lack of any genuine commitment. So even the passage of a state act for 50% reservation of seats for women candidates in local government elections also backfired since this otherwise major political move could not be implemented.

They lack the basic approach of inclusiveness and would like to deploy all kinds of exclusionary and exclusivist tactics, which inevitably backfire, because people would take them to court or rout them at the elections.

In the case of the April 27th or 30th 2013 (going by news reports) Mayoral election for the BBMP, the ruling BJP has now once again demonstrated why they shd definitely not be re-elected in next months MLA elections.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that again the gender card and the caste card are being played against each other. One of the reasons for the idea of having a Uppercaste/ class mayor may also be the urban imagination of an independently elected mayor who can market " Brand Bangalore." Deeper implications of connections between caste and image may underlie thinking.