Bengaluru R. Sampath Raj, the Congress councillor from DevarJeevanahalli (D.J.Halli) on Thursday was elected unopposed as the 51st mayor of Bengaluru city.

Raj takes over as the first citizen of Bengaluru at a time when the city’s infrastructure is crumbling, a garbage crisis is looming large, and lakes are spewing toxic foam. These have taken some of the sheen off a city whose administrators prefer to define Bengaluru with rosier monikers such as “global city", “silicon valley of India" and “dynamic city".

Padmavathi Narasimharaju from the Janata Dal (secular) was elected deputy mayor, continuing the alliance of the two parties in the city corporation. The mayor’s post was reserved for a scheduled caste candidate.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) boycotted the polls alleging irregularities.

Raj said that his priorities would be to resolve the garbage crisis, reducing traffic congestion and improve women’s safety.

Strapped for funds or approvals, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP — the city’s civic body), which Raj will now head, has been knocking on the doors of the state government.

Like his predecessors, Raj will have to depend on the state government for funds.

“Having your own party in power (in civic administration) would avoid any conflict of strategy," Narendar Pani, political analyst and professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) said. The Congress wouldn’t like to let any other party take credit for its largesse, especially in the run up to the 2018 elections, he added.

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