BJP in Bangalore part two – Karnataka elections coverage part three

“Bangalore South is not as Brahmin-dominated as you think”, Rajeev Gowda had told me about two years back. “There are an equal number of Vokkaligas here. So I do have good chances of winning”. Unfortunately for Prof. Gowda, Basavanagudi, where he lives, is currently represented by former mayor K Chandrashekar, another Congress Vokkaliga.

As far as the BJP is concerned, this is Ananth Kumar territory. He has represented Bangalore South in the last four parliaments, and it would take a lot of effort from the Congress to unseat him when elections are held next year. Consequently, he has demanded (and apparently been given) control over BJP’s choice of candidates in this area, much to the chagrin of a few BJP workers.

In the last elections, the BJP gave a walkover to Dinesh Gundu Rao in Gandhinagar, by supporting the AIADMK to contest from there. Given that this is a fairly cosmopolitan area (and they’re all “old time settlers” and not IT types), I don’t know how the BJP thought that the AIADMK would win from here. This time, though, they’ve put up a stronger candidate. P C Mohan, who was the only BJP guy to win from Bangalore South in the last assembly elections (he won from Chickpet) has been shifted to Gandhinagar. Considering that Gandhinagar does include some of the “pet” areas, and the huge concentration of traders of north indian origin, Mohan stands a good chance of beating Dinesh, who is on a hat trick.

As I told you yesterday, Pramila Nesargi has been shifted out of Chamarajapet to the adjoining Vijaynagar. Chamarajpet has gone to one Mr. Gaekwad ( i haven’t really heard of this guy before). However, given that it includes minority-dominated areas such as Azadnagar, etc. it might be a tough job for the BJP. It is likely that R V Devaraj (who had famously “donated” his seat to S M Krishna) will contest from the Congress here, and JD will be represented by sitting MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan. BJP’s chances here are extremely slim.

The decision hasn’t yet been made with respect to Chickpet, where the presence of a large population of Marwari traders should put the BJP on a strong wicket. There are still 2 guys who are vying for the ticket here, and whoever gets it should be able to win the seat. Remember that in the last election, this ws the only seat in South Bangalore that returned a BJP candidate.

The Malleswaram ticket has gone to Dr. Aswathanarayan (not to be confused with the guy nominated in Govindarajanagar) who had lost to M R Seetharam (congress; son of M S Ramaiah) in the last election. This is expected to be a tough fight. Right now I’d put the chances for both at 50-50.

In Rajajinagar, the BJP has given the ticket to former MLA Suresh Kumar who had suffered an upset in the last elections at the hands of NL Narendra Babu, who should get the congress ticket again. I’m not sure but I think the Rajajinagar constituency has become more urban, and more middle-class, which should suit Suresh Kumar well. He has a good chance to make a comeback here, though Narendra Babu will put up a good fight.

In Jayanagar, Vijay Kumar, who is known to be close to Ananth Kumar, and who has an extremely clean reputation has got the ticket. This constituency has been represented by Ramalinga Reddy of the Congress since 1991. However, the addition of the largely middle class area of JP Nagar to the constituency should suit Vijay Kumar. Also, some of the poorer parts of the constituency (part of Yediyur ward ) have been moved to Padmanabhanagar. This leaves Vijay Kumar with an extremely good chance to unseat Reddy.

The road divider in front of the Dwaraka restaurant in N R colony is a small park. It is about ten feet wide and has two sections, each of which is about fifty feet long. And each of these smaller parks have a “geleyara balaga” (friends’ association) who indulge in social service and cultural activities. One of the associations is called Nirantara, and a prominent member of this is sitting Basavanagudi MLA K Chandrashekar (ok i’m a bit confused here – i’m not sure if he’s part of nirantara, or nivarana which is based out of a similar park in Hanumanthanagar). The other association is called “katte balaga” and is headed by a guy called Katte Sathya (both the ts in katte are pronounced hard. aS in “tomato”. katte means stone/bench; and not donkey), who is one of the two peoople in the race for the BJP ticket. If he gets the nomination it would be an extremely interesting fight (from the ‘location’ perspective). Nevertheless, Chandrashekar has an extremley good image in the constituency, both as an MLA and in his earlier avatars of Hanumanthanagar corporator and Mayor. He is known to be clean and frequently gets involved in community activities. It is going to take a lot from the BJP to unseat him.

In the next edition, i’ll analyse the constituencies that were part of the erstwhile Bangalore North Constituency.

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