Ex-MLA poses challenge to incumbent

Ex-MLA poses challenge to incumbent

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, MLA Byrati Basavaraj and KPCC Working President Dinesh Gundurao at the program of Mane manege Congress at Ramagondanahalli in Bengaluru on Saturday. Photo by JanardhanKR Puram

Between the traffic nightmares in the morning and evening hours, residents of several wards in the KR Puram constituency rarely have a breather to think about pertinent issues.

The constituency’s resources have been stretched to the limits by the IT explosion and the infrastructure boom that followed it.

Recent statistics has revealed that the KR Puram stretch of the Old Madras Road is the deadliest part of the city, with more than 200 accidents.

The constituency was one of the three segments carved out of the Varthur seat, a Congress stronghold, in the 2008 delimitation. It voted the BJP when A Krishnappa lost to Nandiesha Reddy.

In 2013, Congress fielded B A Basavaraja, known as Byrati Basavaraja, who defeated Reddy by a margin of 24,000 votes.

Basavaraja claims that he has laid roads and sanitary lines in revenue wards where there were only mud roads before.

“Most of these wards were without streetlights and water. The bridge work between Ramamurthy Nagar and Horamavu was pending for decades. It has been completed now,” he said.

Though the Kagadasapura railway bridge was sanctioned, it has been deferred since the model code of conduct is in place, the incumbent said, adding that several other civic works are ongoing.

Money, muscle power 

The MLA also refuted allegations by his rivals that he is using money and muscle power.

Asked about an incident in February, where his close associate Bharati Narayanaswamy threatened BBMP officials, Basavaraja said it was an attempt to tarnish his reputation.

Nandiesha said the sitting MLA has “used anti-social elements” to silence the opposition.

“There is no talk of development. People still remember the civic work I carried out as an MLA during the B S Yeddyurappa government. Eight of the nine wards got underground drainage, 2,500 families got houses and 14 wards got water lines. But lack of maintenance is causing water shortage,” he said.

JD(S) candidate D A Gopal, brother of former minister A Krishnappa, accused both the national parties of buying votes with money. “Such methods can only help in one election. People will give them a fitting reply. Despite being close to the chief minister, Basavaraja has done nothing for the constituency,” he said.

Gopal also alleged that there is a rush to kickstart projects in the past six months.

Ishwaragowda Patil, an activist working for the welfare of slum dwellers, said the constituency houses four declared slums with thousands of families needing rehabilitation.

“Some of the slums have come up on the lake land and will eventually be evicted as per the Supreme Court orders,” he said. “The families must be rehabilitated soon since the state is running out of land.”

Residents of several of the wards here depend on tankers for water.

A tanker driver revealed that he makes 600 trips to supply water. “Residents in Pragati Layout, Kartik Nagar and Vasavi Layout (entirely) depend on tankers here,” he said.

Traffic chaos and water shortage aside, garbage is visible in Islampur, Vibhutipura, Devasandra, Ramamurthy Nagar and the six major slums.

Going by the last two elections, KR Puram has never handed a second term to a candidate.

Now, it remains to be seen if it would stick to the trend this time as well.