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Bouquet of ideologies

Bangalore has had the distinction of hosting individuals and political parties coming from very diverse ideological backgrounds



NOT JUST FLOWERY The Lal Bagh Glass House has been the venue for political gatherings of many hues PHOTO: SREENIVASA MURTHY V.

Bangalore is a politically-conscious city. Even prior to 1947, the people of the city welcomed leaders with varied ideologies such as Mahatma Gandhi, K.F. Nariman, M.N. Roy, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Periyar.

Electoral history

In the Bangalore City Corporation, the Congress lost its majority during the election held in December 1965. An organisation called Citizen's Forum bagged 27 seats in the 63-member council, while the Congress secured 24 seats and the remaining 12 were won by independents. K.M. Naganna, leader of the Citizen's Forum (Poura Samithi) was elected Mayor, defeating Congress nominee T.K. Thimmarayi Gowda by 33-to-29 votes.

Though the Citizen's Forum commanded a majority in the Council, in the 1966 election held for the post of Mayor, the Congress candidate T.K. Thimmarayi Gowda defeated the Citizen's Forum candidate T.R. Shamanna by a margin of two votes. There was an allegation that the Congress won over some of the supporters of Citizen's Forum by "unfair means". On December 24, 1966, the Government superseded the Bangalore Municipal Corporation for a period of three years in view of the Corporation's incompetence in performing its duties and abuse of power. It appointed K. Balasubramanyam as administrator.

Striking deals

In 1971 the Corporation was restored with J. Lingaiah getting elected as Mayor. For four years in succession, the Congress managed to get its nominees elected by adopting all kinds of tactics. The Congress did not command a majority, and to carry on the administration of the corporation, it is alleged, the party tried to appease some of the councillors by giving them sites and positions.

The corporation was superseded for the second time in January 1975 and N. Lakshman Rao was appointed as the administrator on January 8, 1975.

It was only after the Janata Government came to power in Karnataka that elections to the Corporation were held in August 1983. Out of 87 seats, the Janata Party secured 53 seats, Congress (I) 13, AIADMK 6, BJP 4, CPI and DMK 2 each and Independents 5. S. Sundar Raj of Janata Party was elected unanimously as Mayor.

Till 1977, Bangalore North and South Parliamentary constituencies would send Congress candidates. But that year, in Bangalore South, the Janata Party candidate K.S. Hegde defeated political stalwart and former chief minister of Mysore, K. Hanumanthaiah. In 1989, the Congress was able to wrest this seat for former chief minister R. Gundu Rao. Though the Bangalore North Parliamentary constituency had remained a Congress bastion, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, BJP won from both the North and South constituencies.

The Glasshouse in Bangalore was the venue of many historic party sessions. It was after the Congress session in Bangalore in July 1969 that fractures began to appear in the party unity, which led to the parting of Indira Gandhi and the syndicate comprising Kamaraj, Nijalingappa, Morarji Desai and others.

Again, in September 1979, the All India Congress Committee (Swaran Singh faction) met in Bangalore and the then chief minister of Karnataka was elected as its President. In October, 1988, it was in Bangalore that the Janata Dal was born by merging Janata Party, Jan Morcha of V.P. Singh and a faction of Lok Dal (B), with V.P. Singh being chosen President.

S. SRINIVAS

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