Bangalore: The politically volatile Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a flux.
The decision of former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy to contest from the Chikkaballapur constituency has created resentment among a sizeable number of JD(S) workers and supporters.
They feel Kumaraswamy has taken them for granted by repeatedly shifting his electoral base. In 2008 Assembly polls, Kumaraswamy contested successfully from Ramanagara, but a year later, during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, he contested from the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seat and won, resulting in a bypoll to the Ramanagara seat.
Again in 2013, the former chief minister vacated the Lok Sabha seat to win Assembly seat from Ramanagara. Now a year later, he is contesting from Chikkaballapur. In case Kumaraswamy wins, one more bypoll will be forced on the people of Ramanagara.
The resentment among the JD(S) supporters is palpable in Ramanagara, Magadi and to some extent, in Channapatna. The JD(S) cadre is undecided whether they should shift loyalties to the Congress or the BJP.
One section feels that it should patch up with sitting MP D K Suresh and his minister-brother D K Shivakumar of the Congress, who they have been fighting politically for many years now. The DK brothers are ready to accept them with open arms.
Another section feels it should turn towards the BJP and extend support to the party candidate P Muniraju Gowda. The workers feel that by supporting Muniraju they can build the party base, which is yet to make its presence felt in many pockets. A lot depends on how the BJP converts the resentment against Kumaraswamy into votes. JD(S) candidate Prabhakara Reddy is relatively unknown in the constituency and has not been active in campaigning.
Geographically, Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency is spread across three districts – Ramanagara, Bangalore Urban and Tumkur. Congress candidate D K Suresh is strong in Kanakapura and Channapatna. Channapatna strongman and sitting MLA C P Yogeeshwara joining the Congress has come as a shot in the arm for D K Suresh. He is trying to get a large number of votes from these two segments to consolidate his position in the Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP, for its part, has got a good presence in the urban constituencies of Anekal, Rajarajeshwarinagar and Bangalore South. Of the 21 lakh votes in the constituency, as many as 13 lakh votes are from these three segments.
The BJP is banking on the Modi factor to do well here. Besides, there are around 2.5 lakh first-time voters in the Lok Sabha constituency, a majority of whom seem to have a BJP tilt due to the Modi factor and anti-incumbency against the UPA government. The BJP is also likely to do well in Anekal. During the Assembly polls in 2013, the party fared badly in Anekal because the electoral mood was against sitting legislator A Narayanaswamy and not against the BJP, say the locals.
With the JD(S) base eroding in its strongholds, a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP is on the cards.