It’s a rarity in today’s politics. In the country’s knowledge hub — the Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency — the electoral battle is being fought mainly by “gentleman” politicians known for their sobriety and clean image. This explains why the electoral contest is being played out in a “decent” manner despite it being a tough battle in the State’s biggest constituency.
The former Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who is aspiring for a prominent political role in Delhi, has relocated to this seat as the party candidate. The former MP and prominent face of the panchayat raj system, C. Narayanaswamy, is seeking election on Congress ticket. While the Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded cop-turned politician Abdul Azeem, the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded human rights law expert and labour leader Babu Mathew. In all, there are 14 candidates in the fray, including seven Independents.
Going by the present trend, it appears that there is a straight fight between Mr. Sadananda Gowda and Mr. Narayanaswamy, while Mr. Azeem and Prof. Mathew have the potential to tilt the political balance.
Mr. Sadananda Gowda is mainly banking on the personality of his party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He is one of the very few candidates in the BJP who has something to say about his own achievements, apart from seeking votes in the name of Mr. Modi.
While campaigning, he reminds the people about his own achievements as Chief Minister, including the introduction of Sakala scheme for providing time-bound services. The party cadre too is carrying out a systematic poll campaign in this seat.
Mr. Narayanaswamy, who has already represented this constituency once, is banking on the fact that he is a native and has several decades of association with leaders and people here. A leader, who has emerged from the grassroots level through the panchayat raj system, he has strong links with village-level leaders. He derives inspiration from the fact that the Congress office-bearers chose him as their candidate in the primaries, though he moved from the JD(S) to that party only recently.
While Mr. Azeem is trying to encash upon the people’s goodwill earned while he served as police officer in various areas of this constituency, especially in cracking down on anti-social elements, Prof. Mathew is promising alternative politics. Political analysts are still unable to assess the impact of the AAP on the voters of this constituency.
On paper, the BJP and the Congress are evenly positioned, as both have won three Assembly constituencies each, while the JD(S) has a tally of two out of the total eight Assembly segments coming under the Bangalore North constituency.
The main problem for the political parties is that this seat has a heterogeneous mix of areas ranging from city central parts to sub-urban areas and villages. The aspirations and expectations of people also vary from one area to another in this vast constituency.