April 22, 2013, DHNS:
Political parties seem to have learnt a lesson from the BJP, which had fielded Shobha Karandlaje, an outsider, in Yeshwantpur in the Assembly elections in 2008. She deserted the party and the constituency as well, to try her fortunes in neighbouring Rajajinagar.
During campaigning, candidates are highlighting Karandlaje’s case and the negative effects of electing an ‘outsider’ as MLA. All the three major parties – the BJP, Congress and JD(S) – have fielded local candidates this time.
For Congress candidate S T Somashekar, it is a repeat exercise of sorts this time. He lost to Karandlaje in 2008 by a margin of 1,082 votes. He said re-organisation of his party workers and strengthening the base of Congress in the constituency have been on his agenda in the last five years. However, it is not going to be an easy task for Somashekar given the reach of the JD(S) in the suburbs of Yeshwantpur. JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy has toured the outskirts of Bangalore for days before campaigning picked up pace. He has chosen T N Javarayi Gowda as the JD(S) nominee.
Though a fresher, Gowda has been active in politics for the past 20 years. He has ensured the party’s growth in the constituency, including the victory of his wife T A Gayatri (Doddabidarakallu corporator from JD(S) in the 2010 BBMP elections.
Gowda, one of the wealthier candidates, says Karandlaje’s exit has come as a blessing in disguise for his party. Unlike candidates from other parties whose poll promises are road and water facilities, Gowda stresses on BPL cards and healthcare in the constituency.
Though anti-incumbency may prove to be a disadvantage, BJP candidate H L Krishnappa is not falling behind his rivals in campaigning. On Karandlaje’s exit, Krishnappa said it was not just an individual, but the party also contributed to the development of the constituency.
The party-wise strength is also spread across the constituency having five major wards namely Hemmigepura, Doddabidarakallu, Herohalli, Ullal and Kengeri. While the BJP and JD(S) have corporators in two wards each, the Congress has one corporator. Of the 14 candidates in the constituency, six are independents. But the fight for the seat seems to be triangular. As a large number of people in the constituency are Vokkaligas, it is evident that most of the candidates in the fray are from the same community.
However, voters in the constituency are worried about lack of basic infrastructure facilities in this “Greater Bangalore” area. Even though it has been more than seven years since most of the areas under the constituency came under the BBMP, there are hardly any signs of urbanisation.
(Rohith B R)