Perhaps for the first time, people belonging to various regions and professions, linguistic and religious groups have entered the poll fray in a big way, lending variety to the contest.
Bangalore is home to lakhs of migrants from different parts of Karnataka as well as other states. And interestingly, a good number of candidates too are migrants. While the BJP candidate from Bangalore North, D V Sadananda Gowda, is from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, his JD(S) rival Abdul Azeem is from Mandya. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Prof Babu Mathew who has his roots in Kerala.
While Mysorean Rizwan Arshad is the Congress nominee from Bangalore Central, the AAP candidate from the constituency, V Balakrishnan, hails from Tamil Nadu. The sitting MP from Bangalore South, the Hubli-bred H N Ananth Kumar is facing the Congress’ Nandan Nilekani, a native of Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district and the JD(S)’ Ruth Manorama, who is basically from Tamil Nadu.
The candidates also mirror the City’s linguistic diversity. In Bangalore Central, Punjabi-Tulu-speaking Nandini Alva (JD-S) is pitted against sitting MP P C Mohan of the BJP, whose mother tongue is Telugu, and a Urdu-speaking Arshad. While Konkani is Nilekani’s mother tongue, it is Malayalam in the case of Prof Mathew. Balakrishnan is a Tamilian.
Perhaps, the only true and original Bangalorean in the race is the Congress candidate from the Bangalore North constituency, C Narayanaswamy. He is a native of Channahalli near Devanahalli. Narayanaswamy, a Kannada-speaking Vokkaliga and former MP, has spent all his life in Bangalore.
When it comes to the profession of the contestants, Azeem is a former police officer, Prof Mathew a law teacher; Balakrishnan, a financial professional and a former CFO of Infosys; Mohan, a traditional businessman; Sadananda Gowda, a lawyer, and Nilekani, an entrepreneur and technocrat. There is also one from the realm of art and culture in danseuse Nandini Alva.
There is a real ‘aam admi’ in Manjunath, an autorickshaw driver who is contesting as the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha candidate from Bangalore Central. There are two veteran social activists in Manorama and Nina Nayak, who is contesting on the AAP ticket from Bangalore South.
Besides Christians and Muslims, there are candidates belonging to many major castes among the Hindus: Vokkaligas, Brahmins, Lingayats, Balijas and Reddys, to name a few.