If reports earlier in the day by TV 9 are to be believed, the BJP has finalised its candidates for the 28 constituencies in Bangalore. On the whole, they seem to have done a decent job of it, though it was widely reported that there was a lot of infighting and lobbying. The chief cause for concern, however, is that a number of realtors have been given tickets.
The main rhetoric of Yediyurappa and co over the last few weeks have been that if elected, the BJP will do to Karnataka what Modi has done in Gujarat. That there will be massive investment in infrastructure and all such. The hallmark of Modi’s rule in Gujarat, however, has been his policy of “i won’t eat and I won’t let my fellows eat”. In other words, Modi has succeeded to a large extent in eliminating corruption in Gujarat. Looking at the Bangalore list, however, it seems like this objective cannot be a part of the BJP agenda.
A party cannot credibly talk about eliminating corruption if it continues to associate itself with, and get funds from, people who thrive in the black market. If you remember, during the last elections, the chief sponsors of the BJP were the Reddys of Bellary – the mining lobby. This time that lobby has been cut to size by the extensive reservation in Bellary and surrounding areas. And so it falls to a different set of Reddys to bankroll the BJP this time – the realtors of Bangalore. If the BJP is trying to woo the middle class with its anti-corruption “Moditva” agenda, it seems like it has scored a self goal at kickoff.
So let’s go through the constituencies one by one. I’m still not too familiar with the new Lok Sabha constituencies, so I’ll divide the city based on earlier constituencies.
- The Uttarhalli constituency was the largest in India in terms of area. Now, it has been split and carved into six different constituencies, which has allowed the BJP to bring in a few new candidates, and also help settle some “issues”
- Uttarhalli has been a BJP stronghold since 1994, when M Srinivas was elected to the assembly. In 1998, he was elected to the Lok Sabha following which R Ashok took his place as MLA. In the 1999 elections, however, Srinivas lost at Kanakpura and then found that he had been “crowded out” by Ashok at Uttarhalli. In 2004 again, Ashok won. Sometime then, Srinivas had moved to the JD(S). However, recently he has moved back to the BJP.
- The rural areas of the erstwhile Uttarhalli constituency have been carved out to form “Bangalore South”, an assembly constituency, and Srinivas, who is strong in those areas, has been given a ticket for that. Ashok has been accommodated at Padmanabhanagar, close to his residence. It should be a cakewalk for Ashok, irrespective of opposition (he seems to be doing a good job as MLA despite the unwieldy constituency). Srinivas is also quite well placed, though a strong Congress candidate might cause some trouble
- A Narayanaswamy has been nominated again from Anekal (SC), one of the few reserved constituencies which maintained its reserved status. Having won three times in a row, it’s very likely that he’ll repeat the feat yet again
- The newly made BTM Layout constituency consists of all the “IT Heavy” areas such as BTM, Koramangala, Jakkasandra, etc. Due to this, this constituency has a large number of migrants, both IT types and poor. This is going to be anybody’s guess. BJP has nominated one guy called Prasad Reddy, who I think is a realtor. Nothing can be said about this constituency.
- Rajarajeshwari Nagar has been given to Dr. Hemachandra Sagar, whose brother Premachandra had lost to Srinivas in the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 (Kanakpura). Given that he’s just joined the party, there is bound to be some kind of dissidence against him within the party. D K Shivakumar, whose Sathnur has disappeared, will be licking his lips. He’ll definitely put fight for the congress ticket from here, and victory is guaranteed for him if he gets the ticket.
- Bommanahalli is the only semi-rural constituency in the new Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency. Again has a large number of migrants. Like at BTM, the BJP has given the ticket to a real estate guy. Like at BTM, nothing can be predicted
- Vijayanagar: It seems like Pramila Nesargi, the State Mahila Morcha chairperson, is being made a scapegoat yet again. I get the feeling that V Somanna will stand here from the Congress, and the BJP would have gotten wind of this and decided to move Pramila here from Chamarajpet.
- There is some Aswathanarayan standing from Govindrajanagar. I’ve never heard of the guy before. So can’t say much apart from the fact that he’ll lose if he faces Somanna
I was planning to do Bangalore South and Bangalore North also, but I now realize it’s already a fairly long post and you might be getting bored. I’ll do two more posts on this topic tomorrow. In the meantime, please get back to me with comments.?? ?