BENGALURU: In the region where the Bellandur waters flow, thick with filth and foam, election promises are easy to come by. “Be it BBMP, Assembly or Lok Sabha elections, candidates first assure us that they will clean up Bellandur Lake. The winner forgets everything and moves on, and Bellandur Lake only gets more frothy and smelly,” says 65-year-old Puttamma, who moved here from Mandya.
Puttamma’s house is next to Bellandur Lake, and for her, the froth is an everday scene. One of the oldest and largest lakes in Bengaluru, it was a lifeline for 20 villages in the surroundings, which are now part of BBMP limits. Most of these places are now recognised as an IT corridor, with a large number of companies and apartment complexes springing up here in the past 15 to 20 years. Ramesh, who owns a small shop by the lake bank, recalls its once-clear waters.
“It was crystal clear and we could drink it. It was also used for agriculture. Nobody believes us now. We lost our farm lands when apartment complexes came up. I am from a farmer’s family but I run this grocery shop for a livelihood,’’ he said.
Bellandur falls under Mahadevapura assembly constituency. Water, especially drinking water, is a burning issue. A large number of people in Mahadevapura, KR Puram, parts of Sarvagnanagar and surrounding areas depend on mineral water cans, which are sold for Rs 30-40 per 20-litre can.
Vittal, who works with a private firm and is a resident of Bellandur, says their only source of water is borewells. “If we drink this water, we risk getting throat infection, so we buy water,’’ he said. Another major issue is traffic jams.
After the Metro started plying till Byappanahalli, many techies working in Sarjapura, Mahadevapura, KR Puram and Sarvagnanagar have starting taking the train. But for onward travel, they largely depend on BMTC buses, private cabs, two- and four-wheelers, which lead to traffic jams at Tin Factory, Mahadevapura, Marathahalli, HAL, Whitefield, Sarjapura and other places. “Many IT vehicles take this route to pick up and drop their employees. There are an umpteen number of cars or small Tempo Travellers, especially during peak hours. Everyone is in a hurry,’’ said Shivanna, an auto driver who lives near Ramamurthynagar. This Lok Sabha constituency sprawls from Mahadevapura and KR Puram, which were once CMC areas, to Shantinagar, Sarvagnanagar, CV Raman Nagar in East Bengaluru, Gandhinagar and Shivajinagar in the heart of the city, Rajajinagar in the west and Chamarajpet in the South.
Bangalore Central is unique as most of the voters are non-Kannadigas -- there is a big Tamil population in hanthinagar, Gandhinagar, Shivajinagar and arvagnanagar, and migrant North Indian voters of the IT crowd in Mahadevapura and KR Puram.
At the same time, large Muslim and Christian populations here play an important role. Interestingly, second-time MP PC Mohan (BJP) gets a large number of votes from the IT crowd, but on the other hand, during assembly elections, BJP gets o n ly two or thre e constituencies.
The constituency has about 21.4 lakh voters. In the 2014 election, the BJP candidate got 5.5 lakh votes, while Congress got 4.19 lakh votes and JD(S) got hardly 20,000 votes. The pattern changed in the 2018 Assembly election - Congress and JD(S) together got 6.6 lakh, while BJP bagged 4.6 lakh votes. This time, it is expected to be a neck-andneck race here.