Bengaluru: With veteran politician and former minister, R. Roshan Baig no longer in the fray in the high-profile battleground of Shivajinagar in Bengaluru city, Congress candidate, Rizwan Arshad who had lost two times consecutively in the Lok Sabha elections, has a ‘now or never’ chance of proving that he can replace the ageing Mr Baig with ease in the minority dominated assembly constituency.
But disqualified MLA Mr Baig who exited the Congress as he was annoyed with Congress leaders like former CM, Siddaramaiah, KPCC president, Dinesh Gundurao and AICC general secretary, K.C. Venugopal, is still a big challenge for Rizwan as he is openly campaigning for the BJP candidate and former corporator M. Saravana which has made this by-poll battle even more interesting.
Although, Mr Baig was given a raw deal by BJP leaders who neither inducted him into the party fold nor gave him the Shivajinagar ticket because of his alleged links with the IMA investor scam, Mr Baig's camp is openly canvassing for the BJP candidate.
There are 18 candidates in the fray including JD(S) national spokesperson Tanveer Ahmedulla in this constituency but the actual fight is between Mr Arshad and Mr Saravanan with Mr Baig’s support likely to play a significant role in upsetting poll calculations of the Congress, said sources.
The constituency has its share of serious infrastructure problems such as the failure to modernise the existing abattoirs and the age-old Russel Market which was once a bustling market place. Apart from this, the coming to light of the multi-crore IMA scam just before the bypolls in which several Congress leaders from this constituency were allegedly named by the victims, is also an electoral issue here.
"Shivajinagar had steadily reposed faith in Mr Baig for five terms. In this constituency, it has always been Mr Baig vs the others. Even now it is the same.
Though he is not contesting the bypolls, people here see him as their representative," an Urdu news daily representative told this newspaper on the condition of anonymity.
According to this representative, BJP candidate Mr Saravanan currently appears to be ahead of the candidates of the other two parties but Mr Arshad can catch up if he strategies properly....