BENGALURU: Located in the north-west of the city, Malleswaram was designed and built by the British and the Wadiyar rulers of Mysuru more than a 100 years ago. Its dense forest land became a suburb after the plague of 1898. The locality was then meticulously planned and developed, making it a serene and beautiful place to live in.
The constituency has traditionally voted for BJP. In the 2010 BBMP elections, the party won seven of the eight wards. Only N Jayapal of Congress managed to win from Malleswaram ward. Interestingly, now he is contesting on a BJP ticket from the same ward. The BJP is hopeful of repeating that show in this election too.
“The party has a strong base in the constituency. The social composition is also in our favour with middle and upper-middle class forming a major chunk who have a natural inclination towards BJP,” said a party functionary. The popularity of MLA Ashwathnarayan, who many consider as very approachable, is also likely to help the BJP.
Congress is making all-out efforts to snatch one or two wards from the BJP. It sees some hope in Subramanyanagar and Gayatrinagar wards, which have a considerable chunk of backward and Vokkaliga votes.
In Gayatrinagar, BJP has denied ticket to sitting corporator Chetana Prafulla Gowda and is fielding Dhruti, a new face. The JD(S), which had lost Subramanyanagar ward by a thin margin in 2010, is likely to improve its vote share.
Big Challenge: For Malleswaram, the biggest challenge is dealing with the intrusions of modernity such as malls and multiplexes that threaten its heritage structures. The constituency houses some prominent landmarks like IISc, established in 1909 with support from Jamsetji Tata. A building by the French missionaries dating back to 1934, and a temple discovered in 1999 and said to be 7,000 years old are located on 15th Cross.
Despite long resistance, the flower market on Sampige Road that housed three generations of flower and fruit sellers was demolished, giving way to a modern commercial complex and market area. Such changes have made life tough for the old residents, who express unease over depleting lung space, increasing rentals, lack of parking space, and congested living conditions. They worry about the clogged roads, and rising pollution, which have already forced many old-timers to move out.
Home to the Famous
In the past, some of the most well-known personalities of India had made Malleswaram their home. Nobel laureate C V Raman, who moved to the city in 1942, lived here. His residence ‘Panchavati’ is a heritage building with lush greenery and was built in 1903.
Prominent artist Venkatappa, after whom is named the Venkatappa Art Gallery on Kasturba Road, too had made it his home. Among other famous residents of the area were poet G P Rajaratnam, musician Doreswamy Iyengar and Dewan Seshadri Iyer.
Malleswaram is a hub of creative and cultural activities with classical dance schools, and Carnatic and Hindustani music schools. Chowdiah Memorial Hall, built in the 1980s as a tribute to violin maestro Tirumakudalu Chowdaiah, hosts several musical and theatrical performances. Seva Sadana, an orphanage for girls, was started here by C V Raman.
Sankey Tank, built in 1882, has been the area’s lung space, and is amongst prominent lakes of the city.
Apart from these attractions, Malleswaram has something for every one. The area is known for its eateries. Janata Hotel, CTR, Veena Stores, Raghavendra Stores etc., are some of the best examples of hotels which have survived from the 70s and 80s.
The area has got Metro connectivity, with the 9.90-km stretch from Malleswaram to Peenya thrown open in 2014. Development work on Malleswaram 5th Cross underpass has created a signal-free road. The Malleswaram grounds opposite K C General Hospital too has got a face-lift, and several parks have been restored.
ward by ward: the major party candidates and the problems voters think their representative needs to address