BENGALURU: The assembly elections in the constituencies of Anekal and Hosakote are expected to be tight races, with locals feeling that both the sitting MLAs from Congress have done enough to be re-elected.
Caste politics will play a bigger role in Anekal, while a sizeable Muslim population in Hosakote might have a bearing on the result. Locals are sure it will be a two-horse race in both places, with JD(S) not standing a chance.
Anekal and other towns in the taluk — Attibele, Sarjapura and Jigani — have developed as industrial areas and are home to many MNCs and IT companies. However, several rural parts of the constituency, where farming is the main occupation, lack water for drinking and irrigation.
The consensus points at a narrow win for sitting Congress MLA Shivanna B, riding on development of infrastructure during his tenure and support from the dominant Reddy community. BJP candidate Narayanaswamy A was the MLA for as many as 19 years. While most people believe Shivanna is the favourite, some believe the support is back for Swamy.
The constituency is obviously rife with political discussions. One such discussion between three locals of Attibele — Srinivas A, Rajanna and Raghu —in an automobile garage, gives a lot of pointers to the political scenario in the region. Srinivas says Reddys are the numerically dominant caste in the region, and though traditionally they have supported BJP, they could side with Congress due to the considerable influence of Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy.
Scheduled castes also constitute a sizeable population, and Raghu believes 60-75 per cent of them will side with the Congress candidate. “In the assembly elections, unlike in the panchayat elections, people vote for the party instead of the candidate,” Srinivas said. Interestingly, BJP has won a large majority of the zilla panchayat seats.
But not everyone is satisfied with Shivanna’s tenure, especially in the rural parts. “There is no drinking water supply from three years, with works for drainage and lakes pending since long,” says Gangaraju Jyotilingappa, a shopkeeper from Sunuwara village near Anekal. Neelamma, who is physically handicapped due to a disease in her foot, says she has stopped receiving money from the scheme for the disabled.
Rajeev B M, owner of a steel shop, is among those who believe support is back for Swamy. He said development had happened only after commissions were given to several parties, while Balaji B S termed the Congress rule a ‘percentage government.’
SON OF FORMER MLA TO FACE SITTING MLA AT HOSAKOTE
Sitting MLA N Nagaraju will look to retain his seat by winning against BJP candidate Sharath Bache Gowda, son of former MLA B N Bache Gowda, at Hosakote. Scarcity of water was earlier the major issue in the constituency, but most believe that the current government has done enough to resolve that. Caste is not expected to play a big role, however, the sizable Muslim population in the constituency could be a factor.
Ramu, a florist in Hosakote, says Nagaraju is expected to retain his seat. The sitting MLA would benefit from development works taken up and the taluk having a sizeable Muslim population, which traditionally supports the Congress, notwithstanding the IT raids on his residence in February 2017.
“The constituency suffered from water issues prior to 2013, which have now been resolved. A lot of work has been done to clean and protect storm water drains and build roads,” he said.
Shopkeeper and farmer from the Aalappanahalli village Nandish Gowda comes across as an avid follower of politics. He says the senior Gowda, who was in power until 2013, was a victim of internal squabbles in the Party. “Gowda also did development works during his tenure, and most youth now support his son, which is why I think he will win, but it will not be by a big margin,” he said.
P Ananta, a farmer who grows button roses, highlighted the issue of Parties distributing freebies before the elections. “When Party members approach me, I show that I agree with them and I’m on their side, otherwise, they will not sanction any work that would benefit me,” he said. Many locals admitted that all Parties distribute large amounts of money before every election.