With western areas of the city being some of the most developed, there are not many infrastructure issues faced by residents. In constituencies like Malleswaram, Mahalakshmipuram, Rajajinagar, Vijayanagar, and Govindrajnagar, it is all about the perception people have about the candidates, say residents. Malleswaram is one of the oldest settlements of the city.
A sizeable population in west Bengaluru is well-read and inquisitive of what their elected representatives are up to. “Multibillionaires who declare hundreds of crores of rupees as their assets and file nominations are just into politics to grab power and safeguard their wealth,” says senior citizen
B S Thontadarya, relaxing in a park in Vijayanagar.
When asked what he thought about the job of an MLA, he said, “Of course, we should appreciate them for doing good work for people and for keeping a check on crimes. People have settled peacefully in our area. That is why they are continuously winning.” His comments were about M Krishnappa, Housing Minister and Vijayanagar Congress MLA as well as his son Priya Krishna, representing Govindarajanagar. As developed areas, there are not many demands related to new projects. However, with a large population residing in these areas, issues like lack of water supply are acute in some areas.
Manjunath, employee in a private firm said, “There is a drinking water crisis in some wards such as KP Agrahara and Bhuvaneshwarinagar.”
Residents said that they would prefer an MLA taking suggestions from them. “They must lend a patient ear and listen to us. For instance, there is a need to develop more parks as it helps keep the area green,” said engineering student K Navyashree.
Dig a little more and caste factors crop up into the discussion. In both Vijayanagara and Govindarajanagar constituencies, caste factor cannot be ignored. The ruling political family here belongs to the dominant Vokkaliga community which has the largest chunk of voters in both the constituencies. Perhaps to help them, the JD(S) might neither field a strong candidate nor campaign seriously.
The next dominant community are Kurubas who are drawn to the Congress. Therefore, going by both counts, both father Krishnappa contesting from Vijayanagar and son Priya Krishna contesting from Govindrajnagar are expected to win hands down.However, Krishnappa may have a close fight this time as his rival candidate Ravindra, contesting from BJP, also belongs to the same community. Moreover, BJP candidates were elected in all the BBMP wards in this constituency.
A fruit seller in Vijayanagar, Krishnappa said, “Krishnappa cannot repeat the win by a huge margin like he did in the previous polls.” Similarly, Priya Krishna is projected as a youth icon in the Govindarajanagar constituency. Barring poor roads in Moodalapalya of Govindarajanagar, no major issue has worked against him. “He needs to work as usual to challenge his rival BJP candidate M Somanna,” he added. Adjacent to Vijayanagar is Rajajinagar constituency represented by S Suresh Kumar of BJP. He is likely to face a tough contest this time around as Padmavathi, former Mayor, is his opponent.
“We are thinking of supporting Padmavathi this time. She is aware of the problems of the downtrodden. Suresh Kumar is accessible to the poor only during election time. He did not consider the grievances of Dalits, especially in Jodihalli ward where people are facing drinking water shortage and blockage of sewage pipes frequently,” said Shankarappa, an auto driver. However, hotelier Mohan Shetty backs the incumbent MLA. “We have good roads, street lights and drinking water, which are basic needs of people. Our MLA Kumar has always redressed our grievances whenever we approached him for help.”
Mahalakshmi Layout MLA K Gopalaiah is widely appreciated by voters in his constituency. Subbanna Naidu, a former civil contractor, says, “The MLA has done 70% good works, including development of roads, parks and playgrounds.”
Homemaker Selvi says, “Many houses are kept vacant as people don’t prefer to live in Mahalakshmi Layout as we receive drinking water here only once in 4-5 days.” Padmamma, a domestic help, feels sorry for the sufferings of residents here. “Owners are exploiting tenants by demanding more money for repair of borewell pumps.”
A few said there was irregularity in garbage collection in the area and this could dent his prospects to some extent. Palace Guttahalli falls under Malleswaram assembly constituency. Dr Ashwathnarayana, sitting MLA of BJP, receives praise from Muniyappa in Malleswaram constituency. “He has done good works and has impressed all sections of society. He took social security schemes to the needy irrespective of caste and religion. Hence he is likely to be elected again,” he said. Ramesh, a tea vendor in Sadashivanagar, too lauds him but said that more work needs to be undertaken to ensure cleanliness in the area.
However, a voter in Poojary Layout in Sanjay Nagar, said, “The MLA was not accessible to the poor and middle class. So, we prefer to vote for the Congress. If M R Seetharam contests, he will win as he has done several good works for us, including the construction of a hospital.”