Bengaluru: Gandhinagar constituency in the heart of Bengaluru houses the Majestic area, the transport hub of the capital city where the BMTC and KSRTC bus stations besides the City Central Railway Station, now known as Krantikari Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) Railway Station are located.
The constituency is also home to several theatres some of which have closed down and the offices of several film distributors and has become synonymous with the Kannada movie industry. Not to forget the bustling commercial centre which Gandhinagar has become over the decades.
The area has a charming location but is populated mainly by low-income earners which could be one reason for the low voting percentage. In the 2013 Assembly polls, the turnout was a mere 40%, below the Bengaluru Urban district average of 57%.
The constituency has a diverse economy and is considered a melting pot of cultures with a heavy floating population who rely on marketing merchandise at the popular markets in the Majestic area. Gandhinagar also has its historic landmarks-it has the 83-year-old Janatha Bazaar building on Kempe Gowda Road, which was inaugurated by the Yuvaraja of Mysuru way back in 1935.
Former minister and KPCC working president, Dinesh Gundurao, son of former CM late Gundurao, is a popular figure here and has represented the constituency four successive times. In 2004, Gundu Rao defeated JD(S) candidate Nagaraj by a margin of 28,268 votes and followed it up by winning the seat in 2008 beating the BJP candidate P.C. Mohan by a margin of 6,966 votes. He repeated his success in 2013 winning the seat by 22,607 votes. Going by the indications emerging from the constituency, it could be a cakewalk again for Mr Rao, considering his popularity among voters.
A major vote bank are the slums of Okalipuram and Subhash Nagar while other areas like Binnypet and Dattatreya Temple locality are mostly commercial hubs and non-residential areas. Of the six BBMP wards, five are represented by Congress and one by the BJP.
Crying for attention
Though know as a high profile constituency represented by the son of a former CM, Gandhinagar has been crying for attention with serious problems like traffic congestion, garbage management, footpath encroachment and water clogging remaining unattended to.
Most of the footpaths and subways in the Majestic locality have been encroached by street vendors forcing commuters to walk on the roads risking their lives. Water logging is another major problem in the constituency. Vathsala, a resident from Pipeline Road said, “Our houses are flooded with water whenever it rains in the area. Despite complaining about this several times, no official has cared to address the problem.”
A few residents, especially motorists are not happy with the slow progress of the Oklipuram underpass construction. “The work was started five years back and is still under progress. There is too much dust from construction activity and hardly any precautionary measures have been taken near these sites,” said Raghu, a resident of Oklipuram. However some residents said that despite the problems, they did not have any difficulty in reaching out to their MLA. Shashank, a resident of Subashnagar said, “We have no problem in meeting our MLA any time. He is pretty accessible and always responds positively to our problems and demands.”
So irrespective of the Modi wave if it still exists or anti-incumbency, the Congress is all set to retain Gandhinagar. The BJP and JD(S) are yet to announce their candidates and they would need extraordinarily strong leaders to face up to Mr Gundu Rao and come up with a win considering the confidence voters have in him....