It’s sitting MLA vs Siddaramaiah confidant in this constituency

It’s sitting MLA vs Siddaramaiah confidant in this constituency

One of the newest Assembly segments created after the 2008 delimitation, Hebbal has voted for the BJP in the past two elections.

Even during the bypolls held following the death of sitting MLA Jagadish Kumar, voters here stuck with saffron.

Y A Narayanaswamy is back on the campaign trail two-and-a-half years after he defeated the Congress candidate, C K Abdul Rahman Sharief, grandson of former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief.

But unlike in the bypolls, Narayanaswamy is facing a tougher candidate this time. His challenger B Suresh — known popularly as Bharati Suresh — is the brother of the KR Puram MLA, Bharati Basavaraja.

The ‘Bharati brothers’ are one of the closest confidantes of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and belong to his Kuruba community. Also called ‘money bag’, Suresh has been setting his eyes on Hebbal since Abdul’s defeat.

The Congress challenger has declared assets worth Rs 416 crore in his affidavit. Narayanaswamy admits that he cannot match his rival’s net worth. He believes people would vote him back on the basis of his performance in the past two-and-a-half years.

Home to several well-known educational institutions like the Veterinary and Dairy Science College and M S Ramaiah Medical College, Hebbal has some of the well-developed neighbourhoods like Dollars Colony and Sanjaynagar, nestled between areas resembling dusty

The constituency has a considerable chunk of Muslim voters, besides a larger grouping of Vokkaligas and Kurubas.

Narayanaswamy and the candidate from the JD(S) Hanumanthe Gowda are Vokkaligas. Suresh is hoping to consolidate the Kuruba votes, besides getting support from the Muslims.

Local Muslim leaders are unhappy with Suresh as they feel his candidacy has denied a chance for one of their community members to stand in the election.

If he gets the Muslim votes, the contest in the seat will be much closer. But if Muslim votes are divided between the Congress and the JD(S), it would provide a clear advantage for the BJP.

Narayanaswamy is also facing the resistance of sorts inside his own party as one of the corporators is working against him in the constituency.