BENGALURU: Mahalakshmi Layout constituency, carved out of the erstwhile Rajajinagar, Yelahanka and Uttarahalli constituencies during the 2008 delimitation, has been changing its political loyalties over the last one decade.
While Congress and BJP have their own strong pockets, it was JD(S)’ K Gopalaiah, a local strongman with varied business and social interests, who beat the bigger rivals in the 2013 Assembly polls.
JD(S), being seen as a weaker party compared to Congress and BJP, had made a strong presence here in the 2010 BBMP polls too by winning three wards, equalling the tally of Congress, while BJP had to remain content with just one.
Considering the results of the previous election, it is likely that candidates of Congress and JD(S) will have an upper hand, while BJP strives hard to better its performance of 2010.
Congress is determined to make most of the advantage of being the ruling party in the state and is also going in for high-pitch campaign packed with promises. Party leaders are exuding confidence of winning atleast five wards.
Former MLA N L Narendra Babu, who played a key role in the selection of candidates in the constituency, is in an upbeat mood as BJP is facing the anti-incumbency heat after five years of its “misrule”. “Congress will decimate BJP and JD(S) this time,” he says.
However, voters of all the seven wards will not have much of a choice to experiment as almost all the candidates fielded by major political parties are those who had contested in the 2010 BBMP polls. With campaigning in full swing, the incumbents are striving hard to secure their berths for a second term, while others are highlighting the failures of rival party corporators in a bid to winning the seats.
Some Wards Lack Basic Facilities
One of the traiditional residential pockets of Bengaluru, the constituency is among the regions which has witnessed significant population growth during the past decade.
Apart from Nagapura ward, where the population growth has decreased during this period, Nandini Layout, Marappana Palya, Mahalakshmipuram, Shakthi Ganapathi Nagar, Shankar Matt and Vrishabhavathy Nagar have seen population increase from 18 per cent to 48 per cent.
Even though the residents of various wards affirm that the assembly segment has witnessed development ever since delimitation in 2008, they also feel that a lot requires to be done. While some wards are relatively well-off in terms of infrastructure, some even lack basic facilities.
Disposal of waste and inadequate water supply are among the major problems affecting the residents.
In Marappana Palya, for instance, residents living in a slum behind the APMC yard complain of apathy by both elected representatives and the BBMP officials in sorting out the problems that they have been facing for several years now.
With the sewage line and the water supply line running parallel, water contamination is a recurrent problem for residents. Others in the ward are relatively safe as they have no water connection at all!
There are demands for title deeds by residents of Shankar Matt ward, construction of government hospitals and a grievance redressal mechanism.
ward by ward: the major party candidates and the problems voters think their representative needs to address