Bangalore: The upcoming BBMP council polls to elect mayor and deputy mayor for a one-year term on April 29, is almost upon us. This time around, however, the city will not get to see a graduate mayor if either of the two women in the fray for the post wins.
The mayor's post is reserved for a woman from the Scheduled Caste, according to insiders. Of the two contenders, Sharadamma, councillor from Shattihalli, has a Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC), and Roopa Ramesh from Bilekahalli has completed her Pre-university College (PUC).
Their educational qualifications, however, may or may not be decisive as to who will emerge victorious. Leaders from the ruling BJP were huddled at a hotel on Tuesday, deciding who should fill the post.
Many felt that Sharadamma could not handle the responsibility because of her limited educational background; besides, they felt that she was not articulate. Though Roopa has an edge over Sharadamma, the political equation seems to be in the former's favour.
Sharadamma is backed by political heavyweights like R Ashok, minister for home and transport, while MLA Satish Reddy is throwing his weight behind Roopa.
"Sharadamma and Roopa are first-time councillors and are equally qualified. Most leaders were in favour of Roopa because of her better educational qualification and knowledge over issues relating to the city. However, nothing has been finalised yet," said a BJP leader, who attended the meeting.
Although, the mayor's post calls for better exposure in terms of educational qualification and administration skills in order to match the requirement of a city like Bangalore, it has to be settled between the ladies because of the reservation.
"The city administration needs common sense rather than formal educational qualification. A poorly-educated person can also prove the best at administration, and this is the charm of democracy," said B V Ganesh, a BJP councillor.
When MiD DAY tried to call Sharadamma, her husband Ramanjaneya received the call and chose to answer on her behalf. "Usually husbands of women councillors attend to public interactions on their behalf, so I answered the call," he said.
"I know it will be a tough fight between my wife and Roopa, but let me tell you, Sharadamma can mange the post well. However, we leave this to our leaders to decide," he added. He said he was also just an SSLC pass, but claimed to have a sound general knowledge. Further attempts to contact Roopa for comment proved futile.
The deputy mayor's post is reserved for backward class (category A) and B Somashekar (Shakabai Nagar), seen as a close associate of state BJP president K S Eswarappa and a fellow Kuruba, is tipped to take it over.
However, Padmaraj (Basaveswara Nagar), M Revanna (Ramamurthy Nagar) and D Venkatesha Murtthy (Kattariguppe) are also in the race.
Did you know?
Out of 198 councilors, only 26 are graduates and 60 are not even matriculate. Over 25 have passed SSLC, while the rest hold qualifications like PUC, diplomas and Industrial Training (ITI)
Deputy mayor's wedding today
N Dayanand, who is one of the most educated among the councillors with an M Tech degree, is getting married on Wednesday. His term had ended on April 23, but he requested authorities to postpone the elections by a week so that he is not referred to as 'former deputy mayor' while tying the nuptial knot. Authorities obliged. His wedding takes place at Jasma Mandir in Austin Town.