Bengaluru: On the face of it, it looks like a cakewalk for Bengaluru rural MP D.K. Suresh of the Congress, who has been invincible since he began contesting from the constituency some years ago. But this time the absence of the JD(S) has made it to a direct fight between the Congress and BJP, which had performed very well in the constituency during the last Lok Sabha elections riding on the Modi wave and had come second, pushing the JD(S) to third place. While the Congress had polled over 6.52 lakh votes, the BJP had polled, 4.21 lakh and the JD(S), around 3.17 lakh.
Moreover, the constituency includes three assembly segments of Anekal, Rajarajeshwarinagar and Bengaluru South where the BJP has a strong presence. In Anekal, A Narayanaswamy of the BJP lost to the Congress by a margin of 8,500 votes the last election and in Rajarajeshwarinagar, while Munirathna of the Congress polled one lakh votes, the BJP got 80,000 and the JD(S), 60,000. Adding to the Congress’ worry here, it could find it difficult to get JD(S) workers to campaign for it in the segment. In Bengaluru South, the BJP has its own MLA and had polled 1.5 lakh votes the last election, which is equivalent to votes polled by the Congress and the JD(S) in the segment.
The BJP has done its homework right this time by fielding a Vokkaliga, Ashwanthnarayana, from Bengaluru rural constituency with an eye on the votes of the community, which is in a majority here. Considering these factors, Suresh and his brother D.K. Shivakumar, who are known to successfully pull off electoral wins, may this time have to burn their midnight oil longer than usual to fend off the BJP challenge. Meanwhile, in Ramanagara district, the Congress’ chances will depend on CM H.D. Kumaraswamy’s followers backing it as they have always been at loggerheads with the supporters of Shivakumar and in the Kunigal Assembly segment all three parties have their pockets of influence.
The other factor to bear in mind is the changed political scenario in the constituency over the last five years. While C.P. Yogeshwar of the BJP was in the Congress in 2014, traditional rivals D.K. Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy have this time joined hands with the former helping the CM win from both Chennapatna and Ramanagara last Assembly poll.
Suresh’s fate will, however, depend on whether the Congress and JD(S) workers, who are traditional rivals, will join hands to work for him. The BJP is banking on their rivalry in the four Bengaluru rural district constituencies. And it may have reason to as when the DK brothers recently went to meet former Kunigal MLA D. Nagarajaiah of JD(S), he pointedly asked Congress MLA Ravi, who accompanied them, to stand outside. He was allegedly upset at Ravi harassing his supporters.
In Magadi too, JD(S) MLA Manju and former MLA Balakrishna of the Congress are finding it hard to work together due to their personal rivalry....