Bangalore Rural may have given political rebirth to leaders like Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy, but to a very large segment of nearly 9.8 lakh urban voters from Bangalore city, it is their misfortune to be part of this Lok Sabha constituency. Despite being a huge chunk of the electorate, they feel ignored and isolated by political parties who give more prominence to the rural segments.
Of the eight Assembly segments, three of them—Rajarajeswari Nagar, Bangalore South and Anekal from Bangalore Urban district are part of the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency comprising Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Magadi, Kunigal and Kanakpura. Of the 18 lakh voters, majority of them are from the elite areas of JP Nagar, Ideal Township, RR Nagar, AG’s Layout, PP Nagar, Banashankari IV and V Stages and the huge gated complexes on Kanakapura and Bannerghata Road.
Most political parties, including the Congress, JD(S) and BJP, have been concentrating and campaigning in the rural segments of Ramanagaram and Channapatna ignoring the urban areas of Bangalore that forms a large part of the electorate. Rural areas are home to only eight lakh voters.
In the bypolls held last year, D K Suresh won from here defeating Anita Kumaraswamy of the JD (S). The turnout was just 10 lakh as the urban voters gave a miss to exercise their right.
In fact, S K Sudhindra, a political observer, remarked that in the previous election, the campaigning was so poor that people were not even aware that they too were part of the constituency. “In fact, only five voters of the 756 had cast their franchise in one of the polling booths in Poorna Prajna Nagar,” he said.
He further said most parties ignored the urban belt.
“Even this time, in both Bangalore South and RR Nagar segments, voters do not even know the identity of the candidates and till date, there has been no campaigning,” he said. According to him, last fortnight, some people had arranged a programme for Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani in AG’s Layout. “They did not even realise that they were part of Bangalore Rural and not Bangalore South,” he said.
Suma Sitaram, who has never missed any elections, did not cast her vote last year. “We are are extremely unfortunate to be part of this rural seat with all the parties ignoring us. I do not even know who is contesting here. None of them have made any effort to visit our area to put forth their views. In this situation, I think it is better to go for NOTA,” she said.
This is a constituency of extremes. With a flourishing IT sector, it has a huge workforce employed in Electronics City, Global Village Tech Park on Mysore Road. Also huge residential complexes in Uttarahalli, RR Nagar and JP Nagar make up the constituency. Now what do they have in common with other segments is that heir needs and expectations are totally different from rural voters who crave for irrigated fields.
Nagaraj, a software professional and a resident of JP Nagar, still thinks his area is part of Bangalore South and has made up his mind to vote for Nilekani. His hopes were dashed when he learnt that he was part of Bangalore Rural and now vows to opt for NOTA. “Nobody is willing to listen to our basic needs. We want better roads, a safe environment for women and better connectivity,” he said.
Most residents living in the hundreds of apartment complexes along Uttarhalli Main Road too thought they were part of Bangalore South as it is contiguous with Padmanabha Nagar and Gowdanapalya. “We do not have an approach road to our residential complex and we are also waiting for Cauvery water connection as with the completion of the low-level reservoir on Uttarhalli-Kengeri Road, we hoped to get it. But it is very disappointing that none of the parties, even the AAP has even ventured to campaign in our area, excepting the Congress candidate D K Suresh who had put a pure drinking water unit at Chikkallasandra after his victory in the byelections last year,” Geeta N, a resident of Balaji Residency, said.
Incidentally, MP D K Suresh is trying his luck again while Prabhakar Reddy from the JD(S), P Muniraju from the BJP and Ravikrishna Reddy from the AAP are locked in a multi-cornered contest.