Bengaluru: K R Puram , notorious for its traffic congestion and pathetic roads, is getting ready for the December 5 byelection, which has been thrust on it by the resignation of former Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj in July.
A close aide of former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, the since disqualified legislator's decision to resign had sent shock waves in the party, particularly as it contributed to the downfall of the then coalition government in the state. A Congress stronghold, the constituency has for the past couple of decades elected the party's candidates to the state assembly. While Mr A Krishnappa of the party won four times from KR Puram, Mr Byrathi Basavaraj won from it twice. The BJP, on the other hand, has won from it only once.
With the desertion of its MLA, the Congress has fielded former KR Puram block president, M Narayanaswamy in the bypoll. With the contest being clearly between the Congress and BJP, Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Krishna Murthy, has hardly bothered to visit the constituency to campaign.
But there has been a surprise entry in the contest with the Prajakeeya party of well known Kannada actor Upendra fielding its candidate, M Santosh, a former software engineer for the bypoll. While the parties have all set their sights on winning from K R Puram, the people here seem fed up with them as they have seen no development for the past few years.
Said Ms Suhasini Shetty, a resident of Kasturi Nagar, “People should stop voting for useless cash- rich people, who just want power to safeguard their properties and money. Look at Kasturi Nagar. For the past one year, the roads have been dug up to lay water pipes and no one has come to repair them.
Candidates know whom to target for votes. They simply walk into slums and throw some money around . I bet not a single educated person would like to vote for these candidates, especially the ones who ditch one party and jump to another for their own ends.”
While the people of KR Puram are obviously aware that Mr Basavaraj ignored their mandate to join the BJP, some allege he is banking on his muscle and money power to win the election. Said Mr Ashoka Raj, a social worker, “We voted for the JD(S) and now its elected representative resigns to join another party. They can switch sides according to their whims and fancies for their own gains. And later, with no remorse, they come seeking our votes again. They should be ashamed of their behaviour. As we all know, the person who joined the BJP has lost people's trust and moreover, when he was MLA there was no law and order in the constituency. Extortion was high and there was garbage everywhere. So, we will vote for a new face this time.”
But loyal BJP supporters in the constituency remain unmoved by such arguments and declare that Mr Basavaraj will win the bypoll by a huge margin...