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Mangaluru mayoral elections: Will community card play a role this time?


Stany Bela
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Mar 7: With the one-year term of Kavita Sanil coming to an end, the city is all set to get a new mayor. 

Having 35 corporators out of a total 60, the Congress has a clear majority and can elect any of its corporators as the mayor of Mangaluru. But as per experts, despite having a majority, the Congress is facing difficulties to elect the mayor unanimously as there are several aspirants for the mayor’s post. Scenes of dispute over the post were witnessed even in the last mayoral elections. This is the final year of the five-year Congress rule in the state with the Assembly elections round the corner, and there is a long list of aspirants for the coveted post.

It is learnt from reliable sources that as many as five candidates will contest the upcoming MCC mayoral polls, when the incumbent mayor Kavita Sanil and deputy mayor Rajaneesh K will step down after a year long term.

With the pressure of the 2018 state elections, it may not have been an easy call for the Congress to finalise on the nomination. Therefore, despite commanding 35 of the 60 seats, the party has hinted the polls to be a free-for-all event.
Every aspirant is eyeing the mayor’s post and is ready to grab it with both hands. Moreover, as the post is reserved for a general category candidate, there is no caste-based nomination for the post this time and hence, there is an increase in the number of aspirants.

However, unlike the previous edition, the Congress has not conducted 'primaries' to shortlist mayoral candidate. Through its actions, the party has also made it clear that it won't hand out the ticket based on the seniority or performance, instead the election being held under 'general category' this year, will be won by the candidate who garners maximum support.

While seniors like Lancelot Pinto, Naveen D’Souza, Appi, and Bhaskar Moily are in the race, Abdul Rauf, Bashir and K Mohammed Kunjathbail too feature in the list as they have tremendous support from their community. In addition, a few names like Pratibha Kulai, Deepak Poojary, and A C Vinayaraj also believe that they are good enough to occupy the chair if the party considers age, education and abilities.


Abdul Rauf, Bhaskar Moily, Lancelot Pinto


Community factor

Community has always been one of the major factors in all the mayoral elections held in the past. The past four mayors were from Bunt, Christian, Backward and Billava communities. Hence, this year, there is a strong demand from the Muslims that the mayor should be from their community. Abdul Rauf is being seen as the strongest contender for the mayor’s post.

Being the second largest voting community in the corporation, the leaders of various Muslim organisations are already busy putting pressure on Congress party leaders. If reports are to be believed, they have already held a few rounds meeting with their community leaders. Regarding the same issue, Muslim organization leaders have already met district in-charge Ramanath Rai and other Congress leaders. Rumours too are making rounds that if the mayor’s post is not given to a Muslim, they would withdraw support from Congress. With so much pressure, the stress-busting fact is that other than Muslim, no other community has come forward with any demand.


Who are the frontrunners?

There are many aspirants for the mayor’s post, but names like Lancelot Pinto, Abdul Rauf and Bhaskar Moily make to the top of the list.

With 36 years of experience in corporation administration, Lancelot Pinto stands first in the race. Without indulging in any internal politics within the party, Lancelot has maintained his reputation in the party. He was almost elected as mayor twice, but as per instruction of the party, he made way for others to occupy the mayor’s post. Being a party loyal and clean politician, he never expected positions in party or administration. But it is the demand of his close ones that this year, the party should consider him for the post of mayor. As a senior and with experience, he has kept himself away from groups within the party and councilors. This will increase his chances.

Lancelot Pinto is serving his term as corporator for the sixth time, a record only matched by former mayor Harinath. However, in between a catch-22 situation the Congress is unlikely to give seniority its due credit, although the leader is expected to contest the elections anyways.

Another candidate Naveen D'Souza is also an aspirant. However, local party workers believe that he is a dummy candidate and unlikely to garner many votes.

The Muslim community and political leaders of the city have reportedly decided to project Abdul Rauf as a candidate for the mayor’s post. Being a loyal to the community and party, Rauf gained a good name among the party workers and members of his community. His community is expecting generosity from Congress as they are with the party from several years. At the same time, being a social worker, Abdul Rauf has earned a good name in the society. Rauf is known for developmental mentality, hard working style and simplicity which are appreciated by many without the discrimination of caste and community.

Rauf, who has already been elected twice from Bajal and Milagres as a corporator ward recently proved his mettle by achieving sweeping victory at Pudu Gram Panchayat election. Besides, he has served as the president of two standing committees. Meanwhile, K Muhammad of Kunjatibail ward is among the inner circles of the Rai group.

According to Muslim leaders, besides 2006 elected mayor K Ashraf (who on Wednesday joined JD(s)) and unexpected victory of Gulzar Banu (2012), Muslim community leaders have not received deserving representation at MCC despite being the second largest population in the city and therefore the Congress party must take their demand with utmost seriousness.

Bhaskar Moily’s name also features in the list and a few Congress councilors themselves are projecting his eligibility for the mayor’s post. With active involvement in various religious and social activities, he has gained a very good name among all communities. Beside this, he is very loyal to Veerappa Moily, MP of Chikkaballapur. A few sources even say that Veerappa Moily himself put forward the name of Bhaskar Moily for the mayor’s post. Reports also claim that through Bhaskar, senior leader Veerappa Moily is trying to strengthen his grip over Dakshina Kannada which he lost years ago.


All eyes on Congress corporators' meeting

A meeting of Congress corporators has been scheduled on March 7. In this meeting, the district leadership will seek the opinion of corporators. If they fail to come to a unanimous decision, there are chances of internal voting. After facing a similar situation, an internal election was held between Kavita Sanil and Prathibha Kulai last year. That led to two groups. Either of the groups tried to support their choice of leader using various issues.

This time, if an internal election is held between Lancelot, Abdul and Bhasker, caste-conscious voters will lead to Lancelot’s victory. If Lancelot, withdraw his candidature, groups will pop up again supporting the other two candidates.

Ramanath Rai followers will support Rauf and Verappa Moily or Janardhan Poojary’s followers will go with Bhaskar.


Ramanath Rai’s decision to be final

With the 'angry man' and former member of parliament Janardhan Poojary out of the political equation, a general sense prevails among the Congress party workers that shots will be called by Dakshina Kannada District-in-charge minister B Ramanath Rai.

As of now, the aspirants for the mayor’s post have already started to convince senior Congress leader and minister Ramanath Rai. It is said that every candidate is pressurizing him using the community card. Among supporters of other candidates, Rai has recently been approached by Muslim leaders - who have thrown their weight behind Rauf's and Mohammed K's candidacy.

Rai will give green signal to Rauf as wooing the Muslim community is a necessity. With the Assembly elections nearing, the Muslim community is an important factor in Dakshina Kannada to decide a candidate’s victory and defeat. Meanwhile, Veerappa Moily is also trying to get a grip in Dakshina Kannada through Bhasker Moily. He might be expecting a few supporters of Janardhan Poojary to support Bhasker Moily.

All said and done, known faces seem to dominate election nominations this year. The efforts made by each of the candidates to beat their rivals will pave the way for an interesting electoral battle.

At the onset of 2018 polls, the Congress leaders who have already distanced themselves from Hindutva supporters, may likely concede to the demand for a Muslim candidate so that they do not lose the support of Muslim voters to regional parties like Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

Moreover, with even the united opposition adding up to 25 votes - BJP (20), JD(S) 2, SDPI (1) CPI (1) and Independent (1), Congress seems to be casual about any difference it can make. Unless, the party faces its own medicine of jinx victory of 2012 mayoral polls.


Additional content provided by www.storyinfinity.com (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP).


Comment on this article

  • Jagdish, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Is it mayoral election or american president election???

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • SMR, karkala

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    When it comes to nation community, religion,caste or creed don't matter. We are one nation.
    Congress elect candidate on merit basis through token system. Let Congress don't toe line of BJP which want to everything on the basis of religion.
    Nation development is our religion. It service is community.
    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [4] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Mangaluru will never get a Mayor like Kavitha Sanil ...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shetty, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Just see their area which area from dey elected is dey done any gud work for da people wer dey elected

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anseema Beary, Ullal, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    "Being the second largest voting community in the corporation, the leaders of various Muslim organisations are already busy putting pressure on Congress party leaders."

    No pressures please. Please consider diversity and keep the religion out and nominate the best experienced candidate for the Mayor for Mangalore's progress.

    DisAgree Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhu birve, Mumbai/Udupi

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Why don't re-elect Kavitha Sanil? in case she is not getting MLA ticket from Moodbidri or any other constiuency.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • C P Urva, Mangaluru/Bengaluru

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    East or west Lancy bab is the best.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eulalia Dsouza, Bijai/Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Please can Kavitha Sanil have a second term to finish jobs that she has begun. Mayor term should be minimum of 2 to 03 years.!!

    DisAgree [15] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rathan, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Why always select mayor on cast basis and complaint BJP is communal party .khangress everywhere calculate Candidate /postion on cast / religion basis and claim they r secular lol
    All dombarata and nautanki

    DisAgree [13] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Harold D'cunha, Mangalore, India.

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Lancelot is the deserving candidate. He is very clean person, no corruption scandal. Only motto of his is to serve people. The bejai people knows him very well. Down to earth. We wish all the corporators will elect his as Mayor of Mangalore.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [31] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ayub, Jalligudde, Bajal

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Lancelot might be a good candidate but one cannot forget the work done by Rouf. He must get the Mayor post this time. I am sure he will work for the development of Mangalore city without favoring any cast and creed. When he first won from Bajal ward number 53 , he had done a tremendous development work and now he is doing the same in Milagres ward too.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sathish Poojary, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Yes one cannot forget the work done by Roaf in 9 years but more than that one can never forget the work what Lancelot Pinto has been done for the Past 35 years. During the time of his deputy mayor he has helped our ward too though it doesn't belong to his area.

    I didnt even knew him personally that time but now I know his simplicity towards people.

    He believes in work more than publicity

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Whoever it is, please let water management be your #1 priority.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Walter Monteiro, Belmannu

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    please install R.O. PLANTS from Arabian sea water in mangalore area like Gulf. This is the best remedy for shortage of water.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charan, Mangalore/ Bangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Lancelot deserves...

    DisAgree [10] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • SHOBHA, MANGALORE - KODIALBAIL

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Smt. Kavitha Sanil is the best Candidate

    DisAgree [19] Agree [30] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    To win, BJP has to find a Duplicate Kavita Sanil which is Impossible ...

    DisAgree [23] Agree [35] Reply Report Abuse

  • George, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    2nd term for Kavita Sanil please.

    DisAgree [23] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • G R PRABHUJI, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    All the three are capable. Mangalore will shine surely.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Mangaluru people will vote for Honest candidates & not Fakes ...

    DisAgree [11] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • Manohar, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    The mayor is elected by corporators, not the people. The people vote for the corporators in their ward.
    Not sure why this fuss about mayor election though. Most executive power lies with the MCC commisioner anyway.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Devkumar, Mangalore/New Delhi

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Be happy with only mayor's post. Other s all clinch by bjp.

    DisAgree [28] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    You admit others are all Duffers ...

    DisAgree [11] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mahi, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    Yes, this time 8 out of 8 MLA's will be from BJP then.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • JNB, Mangalore-Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    day dreaming is not good

    DisAgree [11] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anil, Mp

    Wed, Mar 7 2018

    In Somalia????

    DisAgree [3] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

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