Karnataka Poll Watch 8: Bangalore North, Central and South

Political Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

April 16, 2014

Bangalore North:  DVS trying his luck in this Vokkaliga bastion

Assembly constituencies: 8
Total electorate:  23,99,994 
Candidates in the fray: 14
Sitting MP:  D B Chandre Gowda (BJP)

Bangalore North is the largest among the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in terms of size of the electorate.   It is ironic that this constituency has become a battlefield of three lawyers belonging to Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi party.  The only exception if JD(S) which has fielded police-officer-turned politician and former MLC  Abdul Azim.   However this is going to be straight fight between the Congress and the BJP with JD (S) as spoil sport.  Aam Aadmi party has fielded a strong candidate in Prof Babu Mathew, a former Registrar of the National Law School of India University.

If one goes by the statistics alone BJP lags far behind its rival the Congress which had polled double the votes of both the BJP and JD(S) put together in the 2013 assembly elections when the BJP’s image was at its nadir.   The BJP first won the constituency in 2004 when H T Sangliana defeated Jaffer Sharief.  In 2009 it repeated its performance when D B Chandre Gowda once again defeated Jaffer Sharief. 

DV Sadananda Gowda (BJP), Narayanaswamy (Cong), Prof Mathew (AAP)

For long Congress leader Jaffer Sharief reigned over the constituency winning it as many as seven times. Though he was a strong contender for the ticket this time also he lost the primaries to Narayanaswamy, who is originally a JD(S) man.  Now the battle is between former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda of BJP, an outsider in Bangalore North and local man Narayanaswamy of Congress.   Even Sadananda Gowda had a tough time  in getting the ticket before his name was finalized.  The clamour for this constituency is largely because both the major contenders view this as a ‘safe seat’.

More than the local-outsider controversy it is the caste factor which will decide the winning horse and the majority Vokkaliga community will have a big say in deciding the winner.   Sadananda Gowda therefore has effectively countered the outsider tag here by projecting himself as a Vokkaliga leader.

Congress candidate Narayanaswamy has a clean and secular image and has a lot of goodwill among voters.  But he carries the baggage of being a ‘losing candidate’ as he lost almost every election in the last 12 years except for his victory in 1996 as MP in 1996 as a Janata Dal candidate from this constituency.  

The Congress hopes that the caste line factor would come to its rescue.  It is eyeing a combination of Vokkaligas, SC/ST and OBC votes totaling about 9 lakhs apart from 2 lakh Muslim votes.   But this calculation has gone awry with the JD(S) fielding a Muslim candidate who might attract the minority votes.  

As far as the campaign is concerned Sadananda Gowda is way ahead launching a blitzkrieg a head of his rivals He also claims that he has the tacit support of Deve Gowda, which should be taken with a pinch of salt.  But this constituency has some hardcore BJP pockets which support the party irrespective of the candidate.  Voters in the age group of 18-30 years constitute about 8.5 lakh and thd BJP is making herculean efforts to reach out to this group.

While all other candidates are banking on the caste factor AAP candidate Prof Mathew has nothing to do with caste.  He is purely banking on the new found love of some people for his party and his own image as a clean and non-corrupt and has the potential to tilt the balance in favor of either party.

Bangalore Central: Preference of middle class deciding factor

Assembly constituencies: 8
Total Electorate:  19, 03,000
Total candidates in the fray: 26
Sitting MP: P C Mohan (BJP)

This politically prominent constituency was carved out of Bangalore North and Bangalore South constituencies in 2008.   BJP candidate P C Mohan is the MP from the constituency when he defeated H T Sangliana of the Congress in 2009 by a margin of 35,218 votes.  Though the constituency comprises mainly of minority population, P C Mohan won due to split in minority votes between JD (S) and Congress candidates which had fielded minority candidates.  The political arithmetic has undergone vast changes in the last five years and the BJP may not enjoy the same benefit it had in 2009.  

PC Mohan (BJP), Rizwan Arshad (Cong), Nandini Alva (JDS), V Balakrishnan (AAP)

Though this constituency has the highest number of candidates in the fray among the 28 constituencies it is likely to witness a straight contest between the Congress and BJP.  While BJP candidate P C Mohan is seeking a re-election the Congress has fielded Rizwan Arshad, a youth face handpicked by Rahul Gandhi overlooking claims of Congress veteran Jaffer Sharief.   JD (S) candidate Nandini Alva (wife of late Jeevaraj Alva) and Aam Aadmi candidate V Balakrishnan former CFO of Infosys   have also been canvassing aggressively and will eat into the votes of both the Congress and the BJP.  Except for P C Mohan, the incumbent MP all other important candidates are first time contestants.

The Congress has four MLA’s from this constituency, two of whom are ministers and BJP has three MLA’s.  JD(S) has a strong MLA in B Z Zaheer Ahmed who represents Chamrajpet assembly constituency.  At 34, though Arshad is the rising youth face in the Congress, his rapid rise has caused lot of stomachache among local Muslim leaders.  These leaders fear that they would be sidelined due to Arshad’s proximity to Rahul Gandhi.  If the Congress is banking on his youthful image BJP is trying to project the clean image of Mohan and seek a second term for him as MP.   BJP is also hoping that two Congress MLA’s R Roshan Beigh and N A Harris might not throw their hat behind Rizwan to safeguard their political interests and it might benefit them.

For Rizwan  hopes  that the 2.1 lakh Muslim voters and about 2 lakh Christians   might vote for him in order to defy the Modi logic.  Aam Aadmi party candidate V Balakrishnan might succeed in wooing the techies and has been campaigning on the plank of ushering in a change.  There is a possibility that the urban middle class, the traditional vote bank of the BJP might shift their allegiance to Aam Aadmi.  If that becomes a reality the BJP is in real trouble.  More than 8 lakh voters in the constituency are below the age of 35 and their proclivity   might be crucial for a winning candidate. 

Nandini Alva is hoping that the image of JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda might work for her apart from the good name of her late husband.  Her campaign is full of glamour quotient as her son-in-law Vivek Oberoi is campaigning for her.   

Bangalore South: A high profile battle, cynosure of all eyes

Assembly constituencies: 8
Total electorate: 16,46,890
Candidates in the fray: 23
Sitting MP:  Ananth Kumar (BJP) 

Perhaps no other constituency has attracted as much attention in Karnataka as Bengalore South largely because two high-profile candidates are pitted against each other. Five time MP BJP veteran Ananth Kumar might not have expected that he will be up against a fierce opponent as Nandan Nilekani from his home turf.  But it is a reality to which he is reconciled to even as he is struggling to retain his iron grip on this constituency considered to be a BJP citadel.  Nilekani, a technocrat and the brain behind the Aadhar card, is also the richest candidate with a personal wealth of Rs. 7710 crores.  Apart from these two high profile candidates Aam Aadmi party has its candidate in Nina Nayak, a known Childs Rights activist and social worker and JD(S) has fielded social activist Ruth Manorama.

Ananth Kumar (BJP), Nandan Nilakeni (Cong), Nina Nayak (AAP)

While BJP is leaving no stone unturned to retain its stronghold,  the Congress is smelling victory even before the polling has begun.  A victory for the Congress would be like a serious blow not only for Ananth Kumar personally but also for the BJP.   For the Congress, Nilekani’s victory would be good ammunition to hit at the BJP where it hurts the most especially because Nilekani  was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi.  Both parties are carrying out high-octane campaign to woo voters in this tech hub comprising middle class and techies.  A vast majority of these upwardly mobile youngsters are   smart, intelligent and know their onions well and naturally the two major contenders are vying for their votes.   Whoever is able to convince them the advantages of voting for them will be able to come out with flying colours.

The battleground looks equally poised considering that the BJP and Congress have won four assembly seats each in 2013 elections.  The poll scenario has undergone a change in the last one year and both parties cannot take 2013 results for granted.      Ananth Kumar is facing a strong anti- incumbent factor,  though a survey by CNN-IBN has shown that the middle-class voters of this constituency are ready to vote for the BJP if not for Ananth Kumar, due to Modi factor.   With a view to target the IT hub Bommanahalli, BJP brought PM aspirant of the party Narendra Modi to campaign for him, in the very domain of Nandan Nilekani.

Despite the initial euphoria Nina Nayak of AAP has not been able to make much headway.   Some of her views especially seeking a cap on the salaries and reservations in the private sector have not gone well with the voters in this IT hub. Ruth Manorama, who is entering electoral politics for the second time in 10 years, having lost assembly elections from erstwhile Bharati Nagar, is banking   her hopes on a miracle to happen for her party to win from this constituency. That being unlikely Ananth Kumar is hoping the Modi gail to stall the march of Nilekani. 

Though Nilekani is viewed as a man of high standing his being a Congress candidate is his undoing.   This means BJP might just scrape through.  But as Ruth Manorama has said, miracles can happen.


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Comment on this article

  • prem, moodbidri

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Close up smile DVS is Bagoda from DK

    DisAgree [4] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    In 2009, PC MOhan's winning margin was more than the total number of votes gained by Congress's Sangliana..

    He had won by 3.4 lakhs votes. This year he will win by at least 3 lakhs votes.

    DisAgree [22] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • paap, Udupi

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    I think PC mohan had got 3.40 Lakh votes, H.T. Sangliana 3.04 Lakh votes.. He won by a margin of 36000 votes.. But in 2009 From JDS Jameers Ahmed had got 1.6 Lakh votes. But this time Vivek Oberoy's Mother In Law is contesting from JDS. So Only NaMo wave can save PC Mohan

    DisAgree [3] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Bangalore Central & South for Congress. For Bangalore North is 50:50 for Congress & BJP, because Sadananda Gowda is supported by Devegowda.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • vicky, mangalore/dubai

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Don't waste your vote......VOTE FOR CONGRESS OR BJP....lets hope this time full majority govt in center....don't sit at home ...you must vote ....all the best for all the voters...be ready for tomorrow.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ahmed, Mangalore / Doha

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Very difficult for BJP to win many seats in K'taka.

    K'taka will elect Congress & its allies.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • paap, Udupi

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Bangalore north sure-shot for BJP.
    Other 2 constituencies will have a tough fight. Jaffer Shariff episode is a negative for Congress in Bangalore central.
    Anant Kumar might be lucky and it will be only because of Namo if he manages to retain Bangalore south.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • prem, moodbidri

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    @ paap,
    what PAAP stands for?
    Pareshaan Aam Aadmi Party?

    DisAgree [7] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • paap, Udupi

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Yeah.. and all the members of this party is called paapis..

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Namma Kudlada Kuvara will be victorious because people of Bangalore know he is PERFORMER and CLEAN.

    PC Mohan, as usual will continue his winning strike. Congress has ed a wrong profiled candidate who has touch with criminals and rowdies.

    It is going to be a tough fight between Ananth and Nandan because latter one has spent money like anything. Ananth Kumar will win, but with less margin.

    It is 3:0 clean sweep for BJP.

    DisAgree [49] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinay, Kallamundkur/Dubai

    Wed, Apr 16 2014

    Kelrappo Keli...Dineshaananda Swamijiyavra Bhavishya Nudi...!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Karnataka Poll Watch 8: Bangalore North, Central and South

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