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Battle Bangalore: No easy pickings for Congress this time

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    There are 28 assembly seats and plenty of prestige up for grabs in Bengaluru, the IT hub and capital of Karnataka. The battle for Bengaluru would be an interesting one during the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018.

    Bengaluru accounts for 10 per cent of the total seats and hence makes it an important destination for all political parties. In this urban area issues such as infrastructure, development, corruption, roads, lifestyle are some of the key focus points. It has been a politically important destination and if one sees in the past, MLAs from the city get a high representation in the council of ministers.

    Battle Bangalore: No easy pickings for Congress this time

    It is a known fact that the BJP tends to do well in the urban areas. In 2013, the Congress however won more seats than the BJP. The final tally was BJP-12, Congress-13 and JD(S)-3.

    Several political analysts say that the results would not be similar to 2013 in Bengaluru. There are two key differences this time around. One is that the BJP is a united unit and secondly is the Narendra Modi factor. The Modi factor works well in Bengaluru and the BJP would ensure that it is used to the fullest.

    Like all Chief Ministers of the past, Siddaramaiah too has played the Bengaluru card. He says that no government has allocated Rs 10,000 crore for Bengaluru alone. He also chose the city to set up Indira canteens.

    The Congress however knows that this is no cake walk. None are underestimating the Modi factor and the party is also aware of the several incidents that took place involving its party leaders.

    Senior Congress Minister George has been in the eye of the storm for long. Be it the Ganapathy suicide case or the steel bridge flyover, he has been criticised heavily by both the public as well as the media.

    While the Congress was battling this issue, more trouble came in the form of Narayanaswamy, a local leader who poured petrol inside a BBMP office in K R Puram.

    The Congress has also been on the wrong side of the public on the Bellandur Lake issue. It has been pulled up by the National Green Tribunal over its apathy in handling the city's largest water body. However some solace came from the Supreme Court in the form of the Cauvery verdict. The court reduced the share to be released to Tamil Nadu while allocating water for Bangalore.

    Just as the Congress battled these issues, more embarrassment came in the form of Mohammad Nalapad Haris, the son of Shanthinagar MLA and Congress leader, N Harris. He was arrested in an assault case and continues to remain in jail.

    These are some issues that could hurt the Congress in the city. While some surveys claim that the Congress would take a lion's share in the city, analysts feel that this is far-fetched. Many still say that the BJP is in with a better chance in the city. The only worry for the BJP is that people still speak about the party's rule from 2008 and 2013. That was one of the main reasons why the party did not do well in 2013. For this the BJP would rely heavily on the Modi factor, analysts also point out.

    While the BJP seems ahead in the city, there is trouble on board for the JD(S). It had won three seats in 2013 of which two were bagged by Zameer Ahmed and Akhanda Srinivasmurthy. Both have quit the JD(S) and joined the Congress. In their respective constituencies of Chamrajpet and Pulakeshinagar, both are strong candidates and if given a Congress ticket, they are likely to retain their seats.

    It would be an interesting and important battle to watch out for. The emphasis on the city has always been very high and every CM has ensured some programme or the other. S M Krishna set up the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, Yeddyurappa formed the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Siddaramaiah came up with the Print Action Group. Ironically all are defunct at the moment.

    This time around the Aam Aadmi Party too has thrown its hat into the electoral ring. The Karnataka Convenor of the AAP, Prithvi Reddy will be contesting against K J George. In an earlier interview with OneIndia, Reddy had said this would be a fight against right and wrong. He accused George by saying that barring his own development, the city has seen no development.

    Karnataka Assembly Election dates
    Date of notification April 17
    Last date to file nominations April 24
    Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
    Date of polling May 12
    Date of counting May 15

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